DUBLIN - A Comanche High School senior — Bradlee Johnson 17 — was severely injured at Johnson Sheet Metal on Wednesday after a trailer fell on him, crushing his abdomen.
Johnson was transported to Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital and then airlifted to Scott & White Hospital in Temple. He is the son of Russell and Melinda Johnson.
Johnson’s aunt, Sandra Cogburn, said her husband Brandon was working with Johnson on a gooseneck tilt trailer with the trailer in the up position when, for some unknown reason, the hydraulic seal bled off, causing the trailer to somewhat slowly drop, pinning Johnson between the trailer bed and the frame.
Cogburn said Johnson was bent over the frame looking down at her husband who was underneath the trailer repairing the brakes.
“He told my husband in a calm voice at first ‘It’s coming down,’ then he started screaming that it was on him,” Cogburn said. “He didn’t realize he was pinned until it was too late.”
Cogburn said her husband then cranked the gasoline motor to try and raise the bed and “it would not raise.”
That’s when Cogburn’s husband came inside to get her and her father Johnny Johnson.
“My husband and I lifted on the trailer and somehow the mechanism came unlocked and finally the bed raised,” Cogburn said. “Bradlee got himself out. When I came around the corner he had gotten himself out and was laying on the ground.”
Cogburn said her dad had gone to get the forklift because he didn’t think they would be able to raise it by lifting it.
“It was adrenalin,” Cogburn said.
Cogburn said Johnson is being heavily sedated after having his spleen, one kidney and half of his pancreas removed Wednesday afternoon with the incision left open in case more surgery should be needed.
Cogburn said Johnson is also on a ventilator even though he is capable of breathing on his own.
“The ventilator is for support measures,” Cogburn said. “They (doctors) said he’s young and strong and will pull out of it but it will be a long recovery. He’s tough. Under the circumstances he’s holding his own.”
Eddie Parker, automotive and diesel technology teacher at Comanche High School said he had traveled to Temple Thursday to visit with the family and said, “Everyone is real optimistic that he will pull through. He’s is on a ventilator now and will be for a couple of days.”
“He’s a great kid,” Parker said. “I’ve known Bradlee a long time. I’ve known his dad forever. In class he was one of my best students. He has a real good personality. He’s intelligent and bright.”
So bright in fact, that Parker said he and Johnson just returned from the National Skills USA competition in Kansas City Missouri where Johnson took home eighth place. At the district level he had placed first and at the state level he won second, Parker said. Parker said Johnson was the only student he had to quailify for nationals.
“Bradlee and I are pretty close,” Parker said. “He’s one of those kids you’re naturally drawn to. He’s a pleasure to be around.
He’s the president of the Skills USA Comanche Chapter. This is the first year for the program and Bradlee has been part of the building process of getting that program off the ground and running. Because of his performance and leadership the program has been successful.”