NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE! CLICK HERE.
Brian Hoeflinger is proud to introduce his new book titled “The Night He Died: The Harsh Reality of Teenage Drinking, A Neurosurgeon and a Father’s personal journey of turning Tragedy into Hope.”
The book takes you on a journey through both my son’s life as well as portions of my own. You will see through my eyes the shocking events that took place the day of my son’s death as well as live through that unspeakable night and the days, weeks and months that followed. You will glance into the investigation surrounding the sale of hard liquor to my son and his friends the day of his death as well as learn the shocking facts surrounding teenage binge drinking. You will glean into the heart wrenching pain of losing a child as you read through my journals and gain a deeper appreciation for the life you have now and for the loved ones that surround you. Lastly and most importantly, it is my hope that this book will inspire people on many different levels, not only for the betterment of themselves but for the betterment of others as well. The night he died, my son Brian made a mistake and that one mistake cost him his life. That is the harsh reality of teenage drinking. And yet from this tragedy has come guidance and hope for others not to make the same mistake. I hope the life experiences exemplified in this book will bring about positive change for all to benefit from someday and in some small way make the world a better place for all to live in. As Brian once wrote, “Life. One word that means everything to humans. Life is precious, and it is easy to forget that sometimes.” This book is a must read for all Parents and Teenagers alike!
Most of all, Brian hopes that this book will inspire people not only for the betterment of themselves, but for others as well. “The Night He Died: The Harsh Reality of Teenage Drinking, A Neurosurgeon and a Father’s personal journey of turning Tragedy into Hope” will be sold right here at BrianMatters.com and will also be avaiable in digital form as a Kindle eBook.
You can view a preview of the first chapter of the story below.
Soon thereafter, at approximately 11:50, Brian’s car struck a tree in our neighborhood at high speed.
A patrolling police officer was driving by at about that time. He saw a fire in the woods and called it in. As he approached the crash site, he saw Brian’s demolished car on fire.
We spoke to him at Brian’s funeral, and he described the sequence of events as he choked back tears. When he arrived, Brian was unconscious but with a faint heartbeat and barely breathing. His seat belt was on. The officer grabbed a fire extinguisher to keep the fire in the engine compartment at bay until help arrived. As responding units arrived, the officers and paramedics tried to free Brian’s trapped body from the wreckage, but his lower body was stuck because the dashboard and firewall had been pushed into the driver’s seat. Turns were taken with alternating fire extinguishers to keep the increasing fire down. With tears in his eyes and his voice shaking, the officer recalled thinking to himself that he was not going to let this young man die in that car, engulfed in fire.
Finally, five of the responders all pulled at once and freed Brian’s body from the car. As they were moving him to the ambulance nearby, the car exploded and was engulfed in flames. No one else was hurt that night.
Cindy and I were sleeping when our doorbell rang at 1:00 a.m. I sprang out of bed, and when I opened the door, I was confronted with three of Brian’s friends frantically looking for him and wondering if we had seen him. I told them we had not seen Brian since the basketball game.
Cindy came downstairs and asked what was going on. The boys said that they had been at a party hanging out together earlier in the evening and Brian had left angry. They indicated that they had been looking for him for well over an hour and could not find him.
This didn’t make sense. Brian never just “disappeared,” and it would have been very out of character for him to be angry. We both immediately began calling and texting him, but got no response. This was also out of character for Brian, because he always answered calls and texts. My wife had just texted him at 10:30 that night to remind him that he needed to pick up his date’s corsage tomorrow for the turnabout dance and that senior pictures were tomorrow as well. He promptly texted her back as he always did and said he would pick up the corsage and be there for senior pictures.
On one level, we both knew that something was horribly wrong. On the other hand, we still hoped that if we could just figure out where Brian was, everything would be okay. Should we call other parents—in the middle of the night?
As Cindy paced the halls, our phone rang. It was the mother of one of Brian’s friends. She said Brian had been in an accident. I’ll never forget my wife’s response that night as long as I live—the sheer horror and emotion in her voice when she responded, “Oh God, no! Please, no! Not Brian!”
My heart began to race. The woman told us that Brian had been taken to St. Anne’s hospital, a level-three trauma center for minor injuries only. I was the on-call surgeon for neurosurgery trauma that weekend for both St. Anne’s and Toledo Hospital, a level-one trauma center for major life-threatening injuries. I frantically called St. Anne’s ER, my hands trembling, and asked them if my son had been brought there.
There was an uncomfortable pause, followed by the response, “You need to go to Toledo Hospital right now.”
I reiterated, “This is Dr. Hoeflinger, and I want to know what is happening with my son!”
“We can’t tell you anything. You need to go straight to Toledo Hospital.”
At that moment, my whole life changed. I knew Brian must have been in a terrible accident and was severely injured.
I started to hyperventilate, and my body began to tremble uncontrollably. I could barely hold the phone as I called Toledo Hospital’s ER to ask if my son had been brought there. Again there was a deafening pause, after which I was told, “Dr. Hoeflinger, you need to come to the hospital right now.” No details would be given to me……
…..When we arrived back home, I gathered the kids in the kitchen. I felt inhumane for the pain I was about to inflict upon them. I will never forget their reactions as I told them that Brian was dead. Christie started to scream uncontrollably that we were lying to her and it wasn’t true. Julie was initially quiet, but then started to cry, the tears for a brother she would never have again gently falling down her cheeks. Poor Kevin was in shock and wanted to cry but was fighting back the tears to be strong. They were all hurting so badly. The short time watching their reactions to Brian’s death seemed like an eternity. I didn’t know how to protect them from the pain they were experiencing.
As they settled down, we asked each of them if they wanted to go to the hospital to see Brian. All of them said they wanted to go without hesitation. We did not want to deprive them of seeing their big brother one last time, and so we started back to the hospital. The ride to the hospital was somber and surreal. How could this be happening to us?
We soon arrived at the emergency department, and we all went in as a family to see Brian’s lifeless body lying there. The kids initially stared at him, but then slowly started towards him and began to touch his face. I think they were trying to make sure he was real, to convince themselves that this nightmare was actually happening and that this was actually Brian lying there. I could see the pain and agony in their eyes as they looked upon their brother lying there dead. Julie held her hand softly on his forehead and didn’t want to leave him. Christie was a little more timid and wanted to stand by him but not constantly touch him, while Kevin continued to stare at Brian, not really knowing what to do or even feel…..