By Jason Kotowski
The Bakersfield Californian
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — An outing with family and friends took a painful, scary turn Dec. 28 when 14-year-old Brendan Sparks crashed his motorcycle in a remote area of Dove Springs, breaking a femur and cracking his hip.
His father tried to keep him calm while they waited for help to arrive. The accident occurred on the side of a mountain, necessitating a Kern County sheriff's helicopter to fly in.
But there was a problem other than the injuries. Sparks is afraid of heights. The thought of dangling from a wire while being hoisted a hundred feet into the air to the helicopter had him plenty worried.
Deputy Brad Brandon calmed those fears.
"It was like being with a friend, not a stranger," Sparks said of being strapped to a backboard and loaded into a rescue basket as he and Brandon were raised into the helicopter.
On Wednesday, Sparks got the chance to thank Brandon in person. He'd been telling his parents what a difference Brandon made during that nervewracking experience.
"He made me comfortable," Sparks said, tears in his eyes.
Brandon called Sparks a "tough young man" who was obviously in pain but managed the situation well. He said he just did his best to calm Sparks and explain everything that was happening.
He told Sparks he'd be by his side every part of the way. The rescue crew flew Sparks to a waiting Mercy Hospital helicopter that then took him to the hospital.
The teen is getting around on crutches now and said his recovery's progressing as scheduled. He said it will be four to six months before he's fully healed.
Sparks' father, David Sparks, said the helicopter arrived about an hour and 45 minutes after the crash, right when late afternoon shadows were creeping over the area. He said it was a huge relief to the Bakersfield family to hear the rescuers coming.
The father said Wednesday he was feeling just as emotional his son upon seeing the deputy who played a large role in Brendan's rescue.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
"I wanted to hug him," he said.
Copyright 2014 The Bakersfield Californian