Oldest member of Congress airlifted -- and joking -- after car wreck

Rep. Ralph Hall, 91, joked after losing a Republican primary, then again after getting hurt in a car wreck.

Story highlights

  • Outgoing Congressman Ralph Hall, 91, is the oldest sitting member of Congress
  • He is airlifted after someone hits his vehicle in Hall's native Texas
  • Hall's office says he joked with paramedics, suffered a hip injury and minor cuts
The oldest sitting member of Congress was airlifted Saturday following a car accident in his native Texas, though the 91-year-old apparently took the flight in stride -- "joking with paramedics" on his way to Plano, according to his office.
Rep. Ralph Hall was being driven by his friend, 73-year-old Howard Zielke, when someone turned into them and collided with their vehicle around 2:50 p.m. (3:50 p.m. ET) in Fannin County, the Texas Department of Public Safety reported.
The other car's driver didn't need to go to a hospital, while Zielke was transported to a hospital in McKinney, the state agency said. Hall, though, was flown to The Medical Center of Plano with what the public safety department described as "serious injuries."
Joy Dover, a hospital spokeswoman, said later Saturday that Hall was in stable condition.
The congressman's office provided more details. It described Zielke as one of Hall's "close friends" and said he was "not hurt."
As to Hall himself, his office said he "suffered a hip injury and minor cuts and bruises, but is expected to make a full recovery."
The same statement noted that the congressman -- who'd arrived home from Washington on Friday -- was "joking" with health staff on his medical flight.
The idea that Hall might find humor in an otherwise bad situation, perhaps, shouldn't be too surprising.
Shortly after losing a Republican primary this spring to tea party-backed candidate John Ratcliffe, thus spelling an end to his 32-year stay in Congress, Hall cracked: "I figured it out -- damn guy got more votes than I did!"
He pointed out, too, that he couldn't get unemployment yet since he has "a job here until December 31st."
"At 91-years-old a contract for six months -- you can't beat it," he said then, referring to the rest of his term in the House.