Local News

Wednesday, Jan 29 2014 06:53 PM

Teen reunited with deputy who rescued him

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Kern County Sheriff Tactical Flight Officer, Deputy Brad Brandon, right, meets Brenden Sparks for the first time since Sparks' motorcycle accident in December in the Jawbone Canyon area. Brandon and the Kern County Sheriff's helicopter crew rescued Sparks with a hoist from the remote area of the crash.

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  2. 2 of 5

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Kern County Sheriff Deputy Brad Brandon, Tactical Flight Officer, is thanked and hugged by Brandy Sparks for rescuing her son (Brenden Sparks), right, after a motorcycle accident in a remote area of Jawbone Canyon in December. A press conference was held Wednesday at the Kern County Sheriff's Department. Brandy is holding her son Coleton, her other son Trenton, is second from the right, family friend Bryson Wattenbarger is next to Trenton and her husband, David Sparks, is to the left.

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  3. 3 of 5

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Still on crutches since having a cracked hip in a motorcycle accident in December in the Jawbone Canyon area, Brenden Sparks of Bakersfield is all smiles during the press conference Wednesday at the Kern County Sheriff's Department helicopter and airplane hangar. Brenden wanted to thank the helicopter crew for hoisting him out of the remote area after he was injured.

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  4. 4 of 5

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Brenden Sparks, left, joins Tactical Flight Officer Kern County Sheriff Deputy Brad Brandon, center, and Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood, right, during Wednesday's press conference allowing Sparks to meet and thank the department including Brandon (Medic assigned to Air-5) who treated him and comforted him during a hoist rescue.

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  5. 5 of 5

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood shakes hands with Brenden Sparks Wednesday during a press conference. Deputy Brad Brandon, center, (medic assigned to Air-5) who treated Sparks during a hoist rescue was thanked by Sparks.

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BY JASON KOTOWSKI Californian staff writer jkotowski@bakersfield.com

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.

"I wanted to hug him," he said.

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