SAN MARCOS — California Highway Patrol officer Brandon Reynolds said he distinctly remembers every detail of the San Marcos freeway crash that left him with several broken bones, forcing him to take a medical leave for the first time in his 21-year career in law enforcement.
Oceanside resident Reynolds, who was involved in a major injury crash on state Route 78 on Oct. 22, was responding to an incident while riding his motorcycle when the collision occurred, prompting an hours-long Sig-Alert on the busy freeway, according to the CHP.
“I remember everything, especially the pain,” Brandon Reynolds said. “I’d never felt pain like that before. I remember thinking that I was going to lose my leg. I saw the bone sticking out of my thigh and my foot was facing me — not something I had seen before and I have seen a lot of stuff on this job.”
Brandon Reynolds was transported to Palomar Medical Center in Escondido where he underwent multiple surgeries with more planned in the next several weeks, said his wife Kim Reynolds.
The longtime CHP officer broke bones in his shoulder, wrist, ribs and femur, among others. In fact, part of his femur bone flew into his freeway, leaving him with a 22-centimeter gap now held together by metal, said his wife of 12 years.
“He has metal rods down the entire length of his leg from his hip all the way to his ankle,” said Kim Reynolds, who shares eight children with her husband.
The severity of the incident left her in disbelief, said Kim Reynolds, who owns an advertising business but is cutting back on work to care for her husband.
“I was getting ready for work when I got a phone call from one of the officers,” Kim Reynolds said. “(The officer) asked if I was sitting down. I asked, ‘Did he die?’”
After arriving at the hospital where her husband was being treated, Kim Reynolds said she was shocked by the injuries he suffered.
“I was in absolute disbelief because he’s an excellent rider and he doesn’t get hurt,” Kim Reynolds said. “He doesn’t even get sick. He’s superman.”
But Kim Reynolds was not alone in her grief. The news of a beloved CHP officer being injured prompted sympathy from throughout San Diego County and the law enforcement community nationwide. A GoFundMe campaign was created for the Reynolds family, who currently have four children in college and four more who live at home.
“From the family of one public service officer to another,” wrote donor Brian Ferguson.
Another donor, Rebecca Brown, said she is “blessed” that her husband retired from the CHP without injuries.
Other donors acknowledged Brandon Reynolds for the sacrifice he makes as a member of law enforcement.
Kim Reynolds said the support from the community has been touching during a difficult time.
“It means everything to me,” Kim Reynolds said. “It’s been so touching to see people give up their hard-earned money to make things a little bit easier for us. It is so meaningful. It means a lot.”
Brandon Reynolds said the donations and letters from the public have been particularly touching as he has lost his independence.
“It is really hard to be bedridden,” said Brandon Reynolds, whose recovery is expected to take at least a year. “Then I see what the community is doing for Kim and me. It just blows my mind that people care so much.”
Kim Reynolds said the public can support her husband by continuing to send him letters, which have lifted his spirits. The letters can be sent to Brandon Reynolds, c/o Oceanside CHP; 435 La Tortuga; Vista, CA 92081.
Anyone who would like to make a donation to the Reynolds family can go to gofundme.com/f/brandon-reynolds.