Nikki Garrett Metzger
High Desert Daily
(Victor Valley) — A tragic car crash that happened on the night of September 16th, 2010 could have had a very negative impact on the young survivor of that accident. Instead, it bonded two families together and focused the spotlight on one caring and dedicated man.
It was on that Thursday night that off duty Phelan Sheriff’s Deputy Stan Bennett witnessed a head on collision on Hwy 395 as he was driving home from a track meet in Silver Lakes. A truck driving in the opposite direct moved over into their lane and hit the car in front of him carrying, Robert and Jonathan Calderon, head on. Bennett pulled over and went to help at the crash scene.
“I pulled over immediately, got on the phone with the CHP while I jumped out and went over to the crash. The car was pretty badly damaged. I checked Jonathan in the passenger’s seat and I could see that the dash was up against his left knee, and I was concerned that it had pushed his femur through his pelvis. If it had shattered his pelvis it would cause an extreme amount of bleeding. I immediately asked dispatch to send an airship,” said Bennett.
Robert Calderon was driving that car and he was killed from the impact of the crash. The driver of the other vehicle was also badly injured but was still alive. Deputy Bennett enlisted the help of two people who stopped at the scene, and helped stabilize the survivors and got emergency assistance to the scene as soon as possible.
“After it all, I realized that Jonathan was in his cross country uniform, so I knew he was at the same race we were. Being a runner myself I really thought he would never run again, seeing his leg and the extent of his injury,” said Bennett. “But something kept telling me to help this kid. I felt God telling me to go talk to his mother, Colleen.”
Colleen Calderon, Jonathan’s mother, said, even after the accident, “Stan would stop by my shop every so often and check on Jonathan, ask if we needed anything. When Jonathan was getting better he told us about a team in Pinon Hills called Hyperformers. He helps coach that team. He told me to bring Jonathan out there and he would run with him.”
Eventually Jonathan did join the group and started working to get back to running. “At the beginning it may have only been 100 yards he could run and then he’d walk a little bit. Then he’d run again, and we just kept building it up more and more. It was a continuous process of working with him. It was slow for him to get back into it,” Bennett said.
Calderon said that her son Jonathan loved running with the group and loved working with Bennett and the head coach Dick Heosle. “Running is Jonathan’s therapy. He was running with Stan four or five days a week. And Stan was always on him, working with him one on one.”
This school year Jonathan is heading to high school and is already training with the cross country team. Bennett keeps in touch with the family even though he is not working with Jonathan now that he is training with the high school team.
Colleen summed it up, “He’s been a source of support for all of us, not just Jonathan.”
Deputy Bennett was featured on the TV program America’s Most Wanted after Colleen nominated him for the All-Star contest, not only for the help he gave at the scene of the accident, but also for being a continuous source of support for her family. He was voted into the finals with 8 other nominees and was featured in week 3 of the contest. He has was also honored with the Commander’s Award from his Captain; and he has been nominated a second time for the Sheriff’s Medal for Lifesaving.
High Desert Daily recognizes Deputy Bennett for his heroic deeds and his true care for other humans.
A fine example to follow in this High Desert.
To view the view the video of Deputy Bennett’s America’s Most Wanted Hero page, visit the link below. The video is at the bottom: http://www.amw.com/allstar/2011/nominee-detail.cfm?id=8849