MANCHESTER — Brandi Braden was at a Fourth of July barbecue when she got a call that her dad Bob was being airlifted to a local hospital. Less than a week later Braden is relieved that while her dad has a long road to recovery, it could have been much worse.

Robert Braden Jr., 48, from the Whiting section was trying to use one truck to load a disabled truck onto a trailer when it rolled back. The truck rolled over part of Braden's head, and he was airlifted to Jersey Shore University Medical Center. Barden was listed in stable condition at the hospital, but Brandi Braden said on the drive to Neptune she had no idea what to expect.

"My aunt, who never gets upset over anything, called me up and she said your dad's being airlifted. We don't know if he's going to make it right now," Brandi Braden said.

Making the trip from Berkeley Township, Braden said they actually beat her father to the hospital. Part of the reason for the delay was that the emergency helicopter had to fly around some of the local fireworks displays. She said it was two hours before they were told anything and she was able to see him. Medical staff at the hospital told Braden her father had only lost consciousness on the flight to the hospital and was able to tell responders exactly what had happened.

"He said that he just heard like a really loud pop, and the truck just started rolling backwards," she said. "His left foot got clipped and it ran over him on an angle, pushing his head down and going over his head."

Robert Braden suffered two fractures on the side of his head near his ear, both of his lungs collapsed a little bit at the bottom, and his foot was swollen, according to his daughter.

The good news was that his brain was okay, she said."The doctors were stunned. They didn't understand how he had two fractures on the side of his head but his brain was okay," she said. "Also, with the lungs, no broken ribs. I find that to be incredible that your lungs are damaged, but the ribs that protect your lungs are okay."

Even a few days after the incident Brandi Braden said you can still see the tire marks on the left side of his head, while the right side still shows signs of road rash and cuts and bruises from being pushed onto the road.

The main concern for doctors is the nerves on his face that control motor function around his body, and fixing the damage sustained in his right eye."He's so sore. We're just happy that he's alive," she said. "This was the scariest day of our lives."

In the days since her father was hospitalized Braden said she has spent countless hours by his side, relieved that he is alive and that she got the chance to rectify one of the biggest concerns on that first ride to see him.

"The whole car ride up I was just screaming because the day before I had talked to him and we were discussing just future plans for the week, and what I said to my boyfriend when I got in the car is I cannot remember if I said I love you to him," she said. "It was eating me up so bad on the way up there. I just kept saying to myself just please let me get there that way god forbid something happens I can say to him I love you."

The family has rallied together to help Braden, a self-employed contractor pay his bills, knowing full well that he likely will not be able to return to work anytime soon. They have also established a GoFundMe to help in that effort. She said even laying in his hospital bed her father is worried about his bills, so they are "just trying to keep him as calm as possible."

"We're just doing the best we can as a family to pull our weight for everything," she said.

The fundraising effort has raised more than $1,000 towards a $5,000 goal since it was started on Saturday.
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