User uShare Login | Register

Along with posting photos, videos, and stories, your uShare account lets you post Classified Ads, recipes on What's For Dinner, and Announcements.

57° View Weather Current Conditions Sioux Falls Change Location
Set Weather Options



Share your Photos, Videos, and Stories on uShare! Click here to get started. | Sioux Falls News & Weather, South Dakota News & Weather, Minnesota and Iowa News

[0] My Saved Articles
Find local businesses
on the KELO Pages!


Most Popular Today

Easter Miracle

July 30, 2014, 9:55 PM by Perry Groten

Easter Miracle
Bryan Hjelmen


A South Dakota motorcyclist critically injured in an Easter Sunday crash is calling his recovery part miraculous and part stubbornness.

21-year-old Bryan Hjelmen was driving to his parents' house for Easter dinner when he lost control west of Garretson and was thrown from his motorcycle.  He suffered seven broken bones and severe brain trauma.  Hjelmen is now home from the hospital and is planning to ride again.

Hjelmen's road to recovery includes restoring both his own battered body and the motorcycle he wrecked on that fateful Easter Sunday.

"Most likely something jumped out and I most likely swerved to miss it and also hit loose gravel at the same time," Hjelmen said.

There's not a lot left of the helmet that likely saved Hjelmen's life.

"A little bit of blood on the outside of it and the front piece, it's a full-front helmet, it's cracked all the way through and skid marks," Hjelmen said.

Hjelmen doesn't remember anything about the crash.  He would learn about it weeks later while recovering in the hospital.

"The bike slid 270 feet and I slid 240 feet.  But the bike almost scored a touchdown, so that's the bright side of things," Hjelmen said.

Hjelmen's own good-natured bright side is sometimes overshadowed by dark moods brought on by his brain injury.

"It's pretty much just trying to realize when I'm doing things differently and getting more back to normal.  Get irritated a little easier right now.  It's gotten better, but still got a little bit more to go," Hjelmen said.

To Hjelmen, surviving the crash was never in doubt.

"I know I was going to be, because I'm too stubborn to die," Hjelmen said.

Playing card games helps to further sharpen Hjelmen's mind.  He credits his recovery to support from family and friends. 

"A lot of people prayed for me but just having them think about me, I feel like that helped," Hjelmen said.

"It's a miracle.  From the first time I seen him laying there in the hospital to today, it's just fantastic," Bryan's mother Renee Hjelmen said.

Each trip to and from the doctor's office takes Hjelmen through the scene of the crash.  But even after seeing the site close-up, it still doesn't jog his memory.

"There's nothing I can do to change it.  It's not like I can go back in time," Hjelmen said.

Hjelmen's health and motor skills have improved enough for him to start driving a car.

"Just to be able to see him get in a car and drive I was like, 'Yes!'  I'm happy for him," Renee Hjelmen said.

Hjelmen's next goal is to ride his motorcycle again.

"I'm going with him.  I'm going to drive, too.  I'm going to be right next to him with the other one.  It's freedom; it's in our blood," Renee Hjelmen said.

Despite the crash that nearly took his life, Hjelmen isn't hesitant at all about riding again.  The lure of the open road could be just the physical therapy that leads Hjelmen toward a full recovery.

"It just proves more that you don't know what's going to happen the next day.  Why not have as much fun as you can," Hjelmen said.

Hjelmen hopes to get the doctor's okay to return to his job at Sioux Falls Kitchen and Bath sometime this fall.  He'd likely start with half-days before going full-time. 

Not being able to earn a paycheck since the crash has been a financial hardship for Hjelmen.  You can help by making a donation to the Bryan Hjelmen Benefit Account at any Wells Fargo bank.

Previous Story

Next Story




View featured stories

You may also like

Tackling Common Core

9/27/2015 10:15 PM

The sometimes controversial method of teaching math and reading is in its second year for the Sioux Falls School District.

Full Story | Watch
Half Honey, Part Pollen, Fully Family: A Look At Adee Honey Farms

9/28/2015 10:17 PM

One man's pests are a Bruce beekeeper's passion.  For nearly 60 years, Adee Honey Farms has been supplying the region and the nation with...

Full Story | Watch
Interstate Impasse

9/30/2015 10:17 PM

It's not the longest running construction project in America, but if you frequently drive through Sioux City, it may feel like it.

Full Story | Watch
Teen Helping Young African Women

10/1/2015 10:15 PM

When people hear about Tsegab's project they're often surprised.

Full Story | Watch
A New Career

10/2/2015 10:14 PM

The Communication and Media departments offer 20 different areas of study at the University of South Dakota, but the newest one is already creating bu...

Full Story | Watch