Teen Seriously Injured in Birthday Accident
A birthday gift for a Robbins teenager turned tragic last Sunday.
Brandon Wood, who turned 17 that day, ran his brand-new moped directly into the path of an oncoming truck on Hemp Street.
His injuries were so severe that he had to be airlifted to UNC Hospit-als in Chapel Hill for emergency treatment.
"It was real bad," said his great-aunt, Penny Lewis. "He had bad head trauma, a broken nose. His bones were all broken on the left side of his face. He had a broken neck, scratches all over."
Things looked bad for Wood. He lay unresponsive in the intensive care unit. Family members rushed to his side. On Thursday morning, things took a turn for the better.
"I just thank God, because today was good news," Lewis said that afternoon. "I visited with him (Wednesday) night, and he wasn't responding. He is doing a whole lot better today. All the prayers are working, and we really appreciate them."
Wood will be a junior this fall at North Moore High School. He loves sports, especially basketball, according to his sister, Amber Cagle, who heard about the accident almost as soon as it happened.
"My friend Brittany Fields was right there and called 911 and then called me," Cagle said in a telephone interview from UNC Hospitals. "She saw the whole thing. They have four or five witnesses that say Brandon didn't stop at the sign, but just kept on going."
The mo-ped was a present from his parents, Charlie and Carol Jean Wood -- a June 30 birthday surprise that was waiting when he returned from a beach trip that day.
"He wasn't too interested in getting his driver's license," his mother said. "He's too old to ride a bicycle, but he could ride a mo-ped and meet his friends and get to high school. I guarantee I will never buy another one.
"Until last night (Wednesday), he was in the ICU. Since they got him to breathing on his own, they moved him to the critical care unit because it is not life-threatening now."
Brandon's survival had been in doubt until then.
"We didn't think he would ever wake up," she said. "He had bleeding on his brain, a little swelling. But when he started breathing on his own -- when he recognized us! -- we were more hopeful. Oh, yes. Oh, yes."
Sunday had been a tough day. The family had buried his grandmother just that morning. Later, Wood asked if it would be all right for him to go out and ride his new mo-ped. He went past a stop sign without stopping, his sister said.
"There was a big old bush there so you actually couldn't see," she said. "The town of Robbins has been really good. They went out and trimmed it up so you can see now. It is kind of like a hill there, to my understanding."
His great-aunt heard about the accident from her brother, who is Brandon's grandfather.
"My brother was on vacation in Florida," Lewis said. "Amber called him, and he called me. I ended getting in touch with my son. One of his friends works for the Fire Department and was on the scene. He told my son, 'Yes, (Brandon) was in an accident,' and looked really, really bad. The ambulance was on the scene and they took him to the park, where the helicopter could land and take him to Chapel Hill. I do know, as soon as it happened, his mother and father went right to the hospital and said that was their baby boy who was maybe not going to live."
Robbins residents are pitching in to help the family cope with the high cost of treatment.
"They don't have insurance," Lewis said. "They are not well-off people. We are trying to set up an account through one of the Robbins banks for people who would like to help out."
His first response Thursday, after beginning to breathe on his own, was recognizing his mother and father and knowing his name.
"I tell you, he sure didn't look good at first," she said. "Prayers have helped, and he is doing really good. I have high hopes. I had another nephew get hit years ago in Southern Pines, and he has been in a rest home ever since. It is a bad thing when you have two nephews hit like that.
"It is going to be a long recovery. They need all the help they can. Their biggest need right now is financial help. The hospital said that up to this point costs are already high. When he leaves, he will go to a rehab center. Right now, he doesn't know why he is there, or anything like that. We just want him to come home."
Contact John Chappell at 783-5841 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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