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Healdsburg teen recovering after freak bicycle accident


A Healdsburg teen who suffered a major injury in a freak bicycle accident Friday night is in critical condition but recovering at Stanford Hospital, his father said.

Dalton Baker, 17, a junior at Healdsburg High School, was rushing on his bike to a football game Friday said his father, Todd Baker of Healdsburg. He was cruising down a hill near the family home at a high speed when he crashed into a cable in a parking lot at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.

"He walks by the property every day, and he just decided to take a little bit of a shortcut to get on their driveway," Todd Baker said. "You could see the skid marks where he realized he had messed up."

Dalton's father was putting together the pieces of what happened from evidence at the scene. Dalton doesn't remember what happened, and has hardly spoken since the accident, he said. After the crash, Dalton found his way home.

"He literally walked a couple hundred yards back to the house with a major injury," Todd Baker said.

Dalton's mom, Victoria Baker, rushed him to Healdsburg Hospital. Not knowing the severity of his son's injury, Todd Baker went to recover the bike.

Whatever it was that Dalton hit, the impact partially severed his liver. At Healdsburg Hospital, they immediately recognized that Dalton was seriously injured, and transferred him to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.

"When he got to Memorial, they said he's suffered a major blood loss," Todd Baker said. "The doctor was very frank, he didn't want to give us false hope, and he said there was a good possibility he wouldn't survive."

Doctors rushed Dalton into surgery and put pressure on the injured liver with sponges.

"This particular doctor saved his life," Todd Baker said, unable to recall the doctor's name because of the exhaustion of the last few days. "He literally performed a miracle on my son, so we definitely owe a great gratitude to him."

Dalton was then flown by helicopter to Stanford Hospital, where doctors removed the sponges and a portion of the left side of his liver.

The next few days brought a series of scares. Doctors suspected a blood clot, but ruled that out. They also thought he may have contracted pneumonia.

Dalton's parents have been spending a lot of time at Stanford, and Dalton's sisters Shalyn, 23, and Makenna, 19, have been helping out in Stanford and at home.

Dalton, still in intensive care, began talking on Wednesday. The first thing he asked for was the date. And then he asked how everyone else was doing.

Described as an outgoing kid who's always on the go, Dalton spends a lot of time with his grandfather, Ed Seghesio, and hanging out with his buddies at the winery at Seghesio Family Vineyards, his father said.

"I'm sure it's his destiny to work in the vineyards, that's what he likes," Todd Baker said.

But for now, recovery is the goal. Doctors believe Dalton will be in intensive care through the weekend, his father said. And then, he'll have to catch up on his homework, his father said.

"He looked really good this morning compared to yesterday," Todd Baker said. "It's been a rough one, but so far it's looking good. It's not all doom and gloom."

Towns Correspondent Elizabeth Cosin contributed to this report. You can reach Staff Writer Cathy Bussewitz at 521-5276 or cathy.bussewitz@pressdemocrat.com.