Mayor of Caldwell Dies in Car Accident
The Mayor of Caldwell tragically lost his life in a two-car accident that happened Monday night. Caldwell is approximately 20 miles northeast of Lexington on Highway 21, also known as the Presidential Corridor.
According to the Department of Public Safety, Bernard Rychlik, 71, died from injuries sustained during the accident that occurred around 8:30 p.m. on Highway 36, just north of Caldwell. DPS said Rychlik was reportedly on his way to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall when he apparently missed his turn and tried to make a U-turn. It is believed he may not have seen a truck that was behind him, which hit his vehicle while he was making the Uturn, pushing it across the center lane and into the bar ditch.
Rychlik was transported by ambulance to St. Joseph Hospital’s emergency room in Caldwell, where he later died.
Two people in the other vehicle were taken to St. Joseph Regional Health Center in Bryan with serious, but non-life threatening injuries.
Burleson County Sheriff Dale Stroud said, “This is a great loss for our community. The Mayor was well known and he will be greatly missed.”
Rychlik was a longtime employee of Woodson Lumber, having worked for them in their Caldwell office for decades. He was also the public address announcer for Caldwell High School football and baseball games and was one of the main faces you saw when it came to publicizing the annual Kolache Festival held in Caldwell the second Saturday of each September.
Elected to City Council in 1976, he served as Alderman until being elected as mayor in 1992. He has served continuously as Mayor since that time. He had just been re-elected last May.
A representative from the Caldwell City Hall said Mayor Pro Tem Norris McManus will take over the Mayor’s position for the immediate future.
Lexington Mayor Robert Willrich, Sr. said, “Mayor Rychlik has been a great friend to me and help to Lexington over the years. He was involved in helping us get the land and the building, which now serves as the Woodson Community Building. This was a gift from Woodson Lumber and it is where we hold our City Council meetings each month.”
Rychlik was married to Betty. Funeral services were pending as of press time.