Photo provided: Heath Parker was recently photographed with his wife, Sasha and their two children, Joey, 4, and Drae, 1.

Archived Story

Parker’s accident changes family [UPDATED]

Published 11:20am Monday, October 17, 2011 Updated 11:31am Monday, October 17, 2011

Before Oct. 9, Heath Parker was the happiest guy, with an infectious laugh, who loved his family with all his heart, said his wife, Sasha.

Since the accident that left him critically injured, he has been making baby steps to recovery, but the future remains uncertain.

“It’s all been totally screwed up ever since the accident,” Sasha said, “and that’s what’s been missing is that guy. We have no idea what he will be in six months. Doctors just can’t predict the future.”

She and Heath, along with their friends, Jess and Casey, were returning home to Battle Lake from the Z103 Bar and Grill where Heath had played for the first time with his new band, Alter Ego. The band had played well. In fact, it was the best Sasha had ever seen her husband perform.

At the intersection of Highway 210 and County Highway 33, Sasha saw the headlights of another car, but had no time to react.

“By the time I saw the headlights, we were hit,” she said.

The other car, coming off Highway 33, hit Sasha’s car on the front passenger side. Though Heath was farthest from the impact, sitting behind Sasha, he was thrown around, she said.

Sasha was treated at Lake Region Hospital in Fergus Falls for cracked ribs, and a damaged liver and kidney, among other things, and doctors wanted her to stay overnight for observation, but Heath had been transferred to a hospital in Fargo and she wanted to get up there.

“My head wasn’t in Fergus Falls,” she said. “I needed to be with (Heath).”

Since she was going to a hospital, the doctors let her go and she has been near Heath since.

“It’s definitely overwhelming,” Sasha said. “But the doctors are doing an excellent job, and I really appreciate the outpouring of help and support.”

Even complete strangers have let her know they are thinking of the family and praying for them, she said. One lady, who was in the audience during the band’s performance, has visited Sasha, bringing a stuffed animal and card for Heath, and the offer of her home if Sasha needed a place to stay. She also brought food to the hospital a couple days later.

“It was amazing,” Sasha said, “She could just tell what a great guy he is. His impact on strangers is amazing. It’s great of people to come and support us like that.”

The nurses, too, have been helpful. They made calls to family, who soon arrived to sit in vigil with Sasha. They have taken the time to explain everything to her. They have taken care of Sasha as carefully as they have Heath, she said.

“People have been coming to support me and give me a hug if I need it,” she said. “It’s overwhelming how awesome people can be.”

Though Sasha has had the support of family, friends and others, Heath’s visitors remain limited to prevent overstimulation. He remains in a coma, but is making strides in his recovery, she said. Doctors have turned off the sedatives, and the shunt was removed. His brain swelling is lessening, and he is responding to stimulants, such as pain, she said.

For now, she is “hanging in there,” she said.

To help the family, which includes two sons, Joey, 4, and Drae, 1, members of Alter Ego, are planning a return engagement to the Z103 Bar and Grill, for a benefit concert Nov. 5, according to the web site Prayers4Parkers.com. In addition to the concert, a silent auction, bake sale and live auction is planned, beginning at 5 p.m. Alter Ego, with special guest Glen Beck will play following the auction.

Anyone wishing to drop off items or a donation for the auction, may do so at Mullen Insurance Agency, C/O Parker Family Benefit, 220 W. Cavour Ave., Fergus Falls, MN, 56537, Attention Allison Mitlyng.

Cash donations are being accepted at American Federal Bank, 117 S. Mill Street, Fergus Falls, MN 56537.

To leave messages for the family, visit www.prayers4parkers.com or Heath’s Caring Bridge website at www.caringbridge.org/visit/heathparker.

Editor's Picks

Burris sentenced to 12 years, 6 months in prison

Michael Alan Burris, who pleaded guilty in October to second-degree involuntary murder in the 2012 shooting of his nephew, Scott Burris, was sentenced Friday afternoon ... Read more

Tree of Hope brings Christmas to the needy

Hundreds of ornaments hung on a tree in Bethlehem Lutheran Church before people in the congregation picked them out to take home over the weeks ... Read more

All aboard! Santa is coming to town [UPDATED]

Off in the distance will be the sound of a train’s horn, and as it chugs closer and closer, the crowd waiting his arrival will ... Read more

Send a veteran a card this season

Addressing the annual family Christmas cards can be a chore, but the local veterans’ home is asking everyone to add a couple names to the ... Read more