▶️ RDM boy recovering after being thrown from car in recent Highway 97 crash

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On Friday morning a two-vehicle crash closed Highway 97 for multiple hours, and 5-year-old Kai Banderas was one of two children injured in the accident.

Redmond resident Elizabeth Banderas tells us her son sustained life threatening injuries after being thrown from his nanny’s car.

Kai did survive, but has a long recovery ahead.

“He said somebody honked and then we went off-roading, and then somebody hit us,” Banderas said. “That tracks with the story that Bend Police Department have told me.”

Because the crash is still under investigation with warrants being served this week, Bend Police could not confirm specific details to us.

According to Banderas, somehow a northbound car and a southbound car collided, and the car Kai was in was t-boned.

Banderas says there was another child, cared for by the same nanny, in the vehicle with her son. She says that child did not suffer injuries as life threatening as Kai.

“He [Kai] was still in his car seat, but his car seat was ejected from the vehicle,” Banderas said. “The right side of his face, basically the skull was exposed and just a lot of lacerations to the right side of his face. So he has lots of stitches from his head…from about the center of his head down to his eyelid.”

Banderas says Kai also had two lacerations on the back of his head that had to be stitched, but did not sustain any broken bones or brain damage.

Kai’s stay at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, where he required plastic surgery, is expected to be costly.

Family friend Katie Wolfe is hoping to help through a GoFundMe with over $25,000 raised so far.

“Let’s cover bills and the basics, but then also hopefully be able to create some actual restful space,” Wolfe said. “Just do the kind of recovery that is a little more obscure than the clear like, oh let’s pay for medical bills and then call it good.”

How much those bills will amount to is still unknown, what we do know is that Kai’s recovery will not be simple.

“The muscle above his right eyebrow was severed, so he won’t be able to like raise that right eyebrow,” Banderas said. “You know, as he ages and his self-confidence, we’ll do whatever we need to do to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Kai will be following up with plastic surgeons in two weeks.

Crash closes Bend Parkway

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