The man who saved an injured Bald Eagle last year and transported him 50 miles to a zoo for help has met with his own misfortune, but is expected to recover.
Brian Baladez, 47, rescued the eagle who came to be known as “Harley” last August, and was at the University of Minnesota's Raptor Center when Harley was released into the wild in January, healed and equipped with a GPS tracker.
While he can remember finding and releasing Harley, he doesn't remember anything that happened from the time he drove his Harley Davidson Low Rider off a highway ramp near Cloquet, Minn., the evening of March 30 to when he woke up in critical condition not long after at St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth, according to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press.
Back in August, Baladez was somewhere between the Duluth Zoo and the Raptor Center, where zoo staff had sent him, when police pulled him over.
"They asked flat-out, 'What are you doing?' " Baladez told the newspaper. After all, "I was carrying a national symbol on my motorcycle."
Fast forward to March 30. Off-duty Cloquet police officer Rick Benko spotted Baladez’ Low Rider by the side of Interstate 35 and then, saw Baladez in the grass beside it. Benko expected a grisly scene because Baladez had been wearing two jackets, and one slid up over his head, giving the appearance of a headless body beside the road. Others soon stopped to help, and stayed until paramedics arrived.
Baladez was hospitalized with broken ribs, a punctured lung and a injured collarbone.
Posted by Holly Wagner