SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A young Sacramento girl nearly lost her life last fall when she was hit by a car while riding her bike to school.
The Sacramento Police Department is now helping her get back on two wheels.
Sacramento police officer Corey Johnson presented a brand new bicycle and helmet to 12-year-old Alena Wong. Last October, Alena was struck by a car and nearly killed near William Land Park. Fortunately, she was wearing a helmet.
“The doctor said I would have died without the helmet,” Alena said.
Corey is the detective who investigated the serious crash.
“It’s a little girl on a bicycle hit by a vehicle and that’s just one you really don’t want to go to,” Johnson said.
It turns out Corey had actually met Alena and her mom Talon about a year earlier at a school bicycle safety event.
“When Detective Johnson came to the hospital to interview her after the accident I recognized him right away as the officer that gave her the helmet that she was wearing that day,” Talon Wong said.
At the hospital, Corey recognized the helmet.
“I saw the helmet and I thought ‘man that looks like one of the helmets I give out’ and then I met mom and she was like ‘yeah you’re the one that gave her the helmet,’ so it was pretty amazing,” Johnson said.
On average, three people die each year in bicycle accidents in Sacramento. A quarter of all bicycle accidents involve a victim who’s 18 and under. That’s why bicycle safety is something Corey takes so seriously.
“Over the years I’ve probably given out 2,000 helmets and if one of them saved a life, which it did, then that makes me very happy,” he said.
Money for the bicycle helmet giveaways comes from a state traffic safety grant, but that funding just recently expired.
Alena’s mom said she still sustained some pretty significant injuries with the helmet, but it could have been worse.
“She ended up with a traumatic brain injury even with the helmet and took her a couple weeks to even start making memories again, so I don’t think there would have been any more memories if there hadn’t been a helmet,” Talon Wong said.
Investigators determined the driver in Alena’s crash was not at fault.