Local News

Saturday, Jul 26 2014 08:30 PM

Zip-lining accident victim flown back to California

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    By Courtesy of Black family

    Shimeaka and Brian Hodges' first wedding anniversary will be Aug. 24. This photo is from their wedding day.

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    By Courtesy of the Black family

    Brian Hodges climbs the steps on his way to eight zip-lining courses at Wild Canyon Adventures in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, on July 20. Hodges crashed into a cliff and suffered brain and spinal injuries.

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    By Courtesy of the Black family

    Brian Hodges prepares for one of eight zip-lining courses at Wild Canyon Adventures in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, on July 20. Hodges crashed into a cliff and suffered brain and spinal injuries.

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BY THEO DOUGLAS Californian staff writer tdouglas@bakersfield.com

Bakersfield resident Brian Hodges, who was critically injured one week ago in a zip-lining accident while on vacation in Mexico, was flown back to California on Saturday with his wife, Shimeaka. Their friend Enjoli Black, whose family accompanied the Hodgeses to Cabo San Lucas, said she learned Saturday evening the couple had returned.

"I got confirmation that they both have arrived to an undisclosed California hospital, and the doctors are evaluating Brian now," said Black, who heard from Shimeaka Hodges by text message. "She just let me know that they're there and the doctors have arrived."

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How to help

To donate to the Hodges family for lodging, medical and travel expenses, visit gofundme.com/ brian--meaka-hodges-fund.

Black declined to reveal the hospital where Hodges is being treated, saying she wanted to respect the family's privacy.

The Blacks, who returned to Bakersfield Tuesday, had raised $51,495 as of 7 p.m. Saturday, in an effort to generate $100,000 for their friends' medical bills.

Hodges' hospital bills had topped $90,000 on Thursday and were expected to grow by around $7,000 per day.

Enjoli Black said news of the tragedy had been featured on the "Today" show, on local TV as far north as Fresno and in a Mexican newscast in Puerto Vallarta.

Hodges, who is 36, remained in critical condition Saturday prior to the move, Black said, after sustaining a severe head injury and broken neck during a zip-lining outing July 20.

The Hodgeses, who have been married about a year but have known each other since they were teenagers, were at Wild Canyon Adventures when Brian Hodges slammed into a cliff face during the last leg of an eight-course zip-line excursion.

Hodges was hospitalized in Cabo San Lucas, where doctors put him in a medically induced coma to prevent his brain from swelling.

When his level of sedation was reduced Wednesday to check his motor skills, Hodges wiggled his fingers and toes and fluttered his eyes when his mother -- who flew to his bedside with her two sisters -- spoke to him.

"He's in stable condition, but still critical condition, and I don't know how soon he will be able to come back to consciousness," Black said Saturday afternoon, describing Hodges' condition before receiving word of his return to the U.S.

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