The Massachusetts teenager severely injured in a head-on collision on Interstate 95 in Pittsfield is recovering at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, according to the boy’s father.
Casey Kaldenberg, of Littleton, Massachusetts, said Wednesday that his son, Tristan, was still in serious condition, but “everything is going as good as we can expect.”
Tristan Kaldenberg, a 18-year-old first-year student at Husson University pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in health sciences, was driving back to school Sunday night when he was struck head-on by a truck that police said was coming the wrong way down the interstate.
Clinton resident Hugh Brawn, 70, was driving in the wrong lane and was apparently intoxicated and disoriented, according to Maine State Police. The vehicles collided head-on around 6:50 p.m. Sunday.
Kaldenberg was flown by a LifeFlight helicopter to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor after suffering life-threatening injuries from the crash. Brawn was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center by Delta Ambulance with life-threatening injuries Sunday night, and his condition was not available.
Kaldenberg underwent surgery in Bangor, his father posted on Facebook. “He broke his nose, maxilla, mandible, ribs, sacrum, pelvis, femur. He had his spleen removed, part of his intestine, and has bruised lungs,” one post read in part.
Casey Kaldenberg said Wednesday that in the next few days, plastic and oral surgeons will come to reconstruct Tristan’s face, as he suffered many broken bones and lost teeth in the crash. He said his son had braces when he was younger, so his orthodontist has images of what his teeth looked like to provide to the surgeons.
He was taken to Massachusetts General ahead of Tuesday’s snowstorm, and the plan there was for him to undergo plastic surgery to reconstruct his face after the crash. After that comes the recovery, which the boy’s father said on Facebook they were “glad to go through.” He said they decided to go Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was listed in serious condition, because it had more surgeons.
Even so, Kaldenberg said EMMC in Bangor had provided his son with “incredible” care.
Casey Kaldenberg wrote on the Littleton Athletic Booster Association’s Facebook page that Tristan had been visited by friends, college professors and coaches and others. While initially writing that “it looked to be pretty grim at first,” Casey later wrote Tristan had awakened.
“We feel the same warmth here in MGH, so far all smiles and love,” he wrote on Tuesday.
Tristan is still on a ventilator, and Casey Kaldenberg said doctors are looking to see whether Tristan has a spinal injury.
Steve McCausland, a spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said no charges have been brought against Brawn at this point.
A news release from McCausland on Monday said there “was little Kaldenberg could do to avoid the collision with Brawn’s pickup as the crash took place at the top of a slight rise on the northbound side and Kaldenberg had only seconds to react.” The release stated Brawn probably was intoxicated and disoriented at the time of the crash.
A GoFundMe page was set up Wednesday to raise money for the Kaldenbergs, and within four hours the cause had exceeded its $1,000 goal.
“We spent the day by his side,” Tristan’s father wrote in his most recent post. “He went from sleeping to just kind of getting upset. He really doesn’t know what happened, why, or where he is. His hands are strapped down so he doesn’t pull out his tubes. He tried to tell us something by pointing at words, but it really didn’t work. He likes when we hold his hands.”
Tristan has two brothers, his father said, and is a social person. He was a track star in high school, Kaldenberg said, as well as an Eagle Scout.
Kaldenberg said the family is optimistic and keeping a positive energy. He said they have received tremendous support from the town of Littleton, with people bringing food and keeping watch over Tristan’s two brothers and the family pets.
“It’s pretty incredible,” he said.
Colin Ellis — 861-9253