Zip-line accident leaves Bakersfield man in coma
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - What began as a vacation with friends in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, turned tragic for 36-year-old Brian Hodges of Bakersfield.
"Things were going great," said Calvin Black, who, with his wife Enjoli Black, and their two children and cousin, accompanied Brian and Shimeaka Hodges to Cabo San Lucas.
The group arrived in the Mexican oceanfront city on Friday. On Sunday, they decided to go on a zip line at Wild Canyon Adventures.
The group went through seven of eight zip lines. The last one was the most breathtaking, and dangerous, as riders go 37 mph on a line that is about half a mile long, said Black.
On this last line, riders travel under a bridge with a mountain on the left, which is apparently very near the zip line.
Hodges was the last one to go down the line, but instead of going straight, his body weight shifted.
"He was coming in, and you could tell that he was turning in sideways," said Black.
Nobody was anticipating what would happen next. While going down in the sideways position, Hodges slammed into the nearby mountain.
"It whipped him around the other way, and then he went limp," said Black.
To make matters worse, Shimeaka Hodges saw her husband hit the mountain, as well.
"Shimeaka is praying and praying, and we are, too," said Black. "I'm screaming to him, 'Come on buddy! Come on, buddy! Say something! Wake up!'" recalled Black.
Hodges, a truck driver for KSI Industries, suffered major head and body injuries.
According to Enjoli Black, he suffered a large hematoma on his head with swelling and severe bleeding and required a craniotomy, requiring pieces of his skull to be removed. He also suffered a fractured neck, trauma to his shoulders and broken ribs.
"It's very serious. He's currently in a medically induced coma," said Enjoli Black, who returned to Bakersfield from Cabo San Lucas on Tuesday along with her husband.
"Unfortunately, when you travel abroad the insurance doesn't cover international injuries," said Enjoli.
Shimeaka had to pay the hospital $50,000, which she charged to her credit card. All medical costs in Cabo San Lucas will have to be paid out of pocket by the family.
Shimeaka remains at her husband's side.
Calvin and Enjoli Black are trying to help. The couple has established an account at GoFundMe.com. The account is under Brian and Shimeaka Hodges. The goal is to raise at least $50,000.
People have been donating whatever amount they can, from $5 to $200.
Brian and Shimeaka were about to celebrate their first wedding anniversary next month. The pair met while students at South High School and were planning on becoming parents.
"Bakersfield is known for being a very giving and loving community," said Enjoli. "That's what we're hoping, that we can get some community sponsorships and donations to help Brian and Shimeaka in this situation."