Mon09012014

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Pier accident leads to loss of young life

A friendly game of tossing the football on the beach led to a tragic event that changed the lives of many people in Colonial Beach.
The May 23 accident started with the ball going into the river. Steven Biggins, an 18-year-old Colonial Beach senior, who, according to his mother, Angie Brann, was an excellent swimmer, tried to retrieve the ball by reaching down from the dock. When Steven could not reach it, he tried to climb back over the railing. He slipped, hitting his chest on the way down. It is believed he was knocked unconscious by the blow and was unable to come back up.

The tragedy is that even though the beach was crowded that day, Steven’s young friend, who could not swim, could not get beachgoers or fishermen to take him seriously when he cried for help.
No one is quite sure how long Steven remained underwater, but only minutes passed between the time the fire and rescue teams were dispatched and the time they arrived on the scene.
The tragedy was compounded when firemen and rescue workers realized they were rescuing one of their own.
Steven had lived with challenges all of his life. From almost a year old he was diagnosed with seizures from epilepsy. He overcame challenges in his life and school.
Raised by his mother, Angelia Brann, and his step father, William Randy Brann, who are also acting members of the Volunteer Rescue Squad in Colonial Beach, there was little chance of avoiding sirens and flashing lights that would aggravate his seizures. Steven not only overcame his sensitivity to these stimuli, but he joined the Junior Rescue Squad in December of 2006 and was officially made a senior member on Wednesday, May 19, 2010, just days before his tragic accident.
After being found and pulled out of the cold water by fire and rescue personnel, Steven was revived by rescue workers and put on a lifeflight to Inova Hospital in Fairfax. There, he was put into a medically induced coma to try to allow his body to repair damage done by the lack of oxygen and the salt water.
After several days with no improvement the family decided to let Steven go. Steven’s mother Angie said although Steven hung on from 10 p.m. on Thursday, May 27, until 4:20 the next morning. He passed away peacefully, and at least three people’s lives were saved by his tissue donations.
Steven’s accomplishments went beyond the Colonial Beach Rescue Squad.
He was briefly a member of the Boy Scouts in Colonial Beach, but gave it up to play football in high school in eighth grade.
Steven was a senior in Colonial Beach High School and played tight end and defensive back for the Drifters football team.
Steven had been seizure-free for two years and was taking Computer Tech System classes at Votech. His graduation party was already planned. His parents will accept his diploma at graduation.
Rescue squad members conducted a private memorial Saturday evening on the municipal pier where family and friends honored Steven by throwing flowers into the river. Colonial Beach Police cleared the pier and the band at High Tides stopped playing out of respect for the group.
Steven’s family plans to celebrate his life and accomplishments in the upcoming days by having a viewing on Wednesday from 4 to 8 p.m. and funeral on Thursday at 10 a.m. both at the Nash and Slaw funeral home in Colonial Beach.

Linda Farneth

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