Breedlove wasn't wearing helmet in crash.
MONTEREY, Tennessee -- Was Monterey Police Chief Bruce Breedlove wearing a helmet when he wrecked his motorcycle and suffered a serious head injury in Nevada a few weeks ago?
Some who have followed the story of the popular police chief who has been hospitalized in Reno since the June 16 accident have asked that question.
The answer is no, he was not wearing a helmet.
That's according to Randy Mansell, one of three friends who were riding with Breedlove that day as the four enjoyed a vacation cycling trip to the western United States.
"The four of us had been riding in states where there was no helmet law, and when we crossed into Nevada, we just kept riding," Mansell said. "Not having our helmets on was just an oversight, although we were way out there in the desert, hardly any traffic anywhere."
And while Mansell and the others had been careful throughout the trip to wear their helmets where required and where there was traffic, they were on that day just enjoying the open air on a hot day in the desert, "a very remote, secluded place that was billed on one sign as 'the loneliest highway in the country,'" Mansell said.
A fox ran across that lonely highway in front of Breedlove's cycle, and he turned to look at it and lost control of his vehicle.
He was thrown off and landed on the roadside.
The impact caused a brain stem injury, and he lay in a coma in the Reno hospital for some time, only coming out of it recently.
"Would he have been injured or would he have suffered the same injury if he'd been wearing a helmet?" Mansell said. "There's no way to know that."
Mansell said he himself does not agree with helmet laws, but hastened to add that he always makes sure that his 18-year-old son, who races in motorcross competitions, wears a helmet.
"I can only say that we were out there in the desert and there was no other traffic and we had not stopped to put our helmets on when the accident happened to Bruce," Mansell said. "It was just an oversight on our part."
Since the accident, many Putnam Countians have joined various efforts to raise funds to help the Breedlove family with the financial burdens they face, and every day, Monterey city hall receives inquiries about Breedlove's progress.
Mansell said there is good news about that progress.
"Bruce has been awake from the coma quite a bit recently and has been talking and responding well. This past weekend, he told his wife, Amanda, 'Let's get out of here.' When she asked him where he wanted to go, he told her, 'Home.'"
Mansell said Breedlove also has been able to hold his baby son, Grayson, and recently, when asked by a hospital staffer, 'Who is that you have there?' he responded, "That's my son. His name is Grayson."
"Bruce remembers that we were all riding our motorcycles on a vacation trip, but he does not remember anything about the accident," Mansell said.
But his progress has been so good lately that doctors are talking of moving him to some Tennessee hospital this week, Mansell said.
Bruce and Amanda's families and their many friends are deeply grateful for all the help, prayers, and concern they have received throughout this ordeal, Mansell said.