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Sonoma theater leader in critical condition after San Diego bicycling accident

Paulino Duran was found on the side of the road in San Diego late last month.|

Sonoma resident Paulino Duran, known for his decades of work with Broadway Bound Kids, is in critical condition following a cycling accident on Tuesday, Oct. 26, in San Diego.

The incident left Duran, 43, with cranial and facial fractures and intracranial bleeding. He’s currently recovering in the Intensive Care Unit of Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, where he is in a coma and on a ventilator, said his sister Sarah Duran-LeVine.

While Paulino’s injuries caused brain hemorrhaging, the brain bleeding stopped naturally and doctors said he has the potential to make a full recovery.

“It’s really a waiting game and everybody’s waiting to have Paulino wake up a little bit more,” Duran-LeVine said. “We have just dealt with so much these past nine days of him being intubated. We’re overwhelmed with sadness for him.”

Duran had been bicycling with friends and was only 25 feet from his apartment door when he was forced from the road and crashed into a car around 9:30 p.m., Duran-LeVine said. There was only a 10-minute window between when Duran left his friends and the 911 call that alerted authorities of the incident. He was found unconscious next to his bike on the side of the road.

To find out exactly what happened, authorities sought video footage from the area but none was able.

At the hospital doctors inserted a ventilator and treated him for the extensive injuries he suffered during the crash, she said.

“Injuries to the brain, they vary so much and MRIs and scans have come back and shown some positive things,” Duran-LeVine said. “And now we have to wait for Paulino to be able to be strong enough to respond back to the doctors on command.”

Duran is being slowly weaned off his sedation, his sister said. For now, however, “it’s sort of a dance between the medicine, the pain and the brain.”

Doctors have told Duran-LeVine there’s potential for a full recovery, but no prognosis can be determined until Paulino wakes up from his coma and is assessed by doctors.

“We’re heartbroken for him to have to go through this,” Duran-LeVine said. “It’s heartbreaking looking at our own brother like this.”

The Duran family lost their father in January of this year due to complications from COVID-19. He was the chief public defender of Sacramento County for 25 years before passing away at 70. The family also lost its matriarch in May after a two year fight against leukemia.

To have another family member in the hospital in critical condition has been “absolutely devastating” for Duran-LeVine and her sister Katie.

Duran-LeVine said she and her sister have been overwhelmed by the community. A long-time family friend, Ellen Toscano, created a Facebook post in support of the Duran family and Paulino’s recovery, urging community members to send “good thoughts and prayers to help him through this.” They also encouraged the community to make and display prayer flags for Duran while he is recovering.

Duran is a leader in Broadway Bound Kids children’s theater performances, but he is known throughout the community for his kindness and empathy.

“He has a really big heart and I think that’s really evident by all of the people who are surrounding us right now,” Duran-LeVine said. “He has the ability to talk, to really connect with people. He has the personality that everybody wants to be around.”

Duran-LeVine said she’s feels like the community has shown up for her brother in a way that even he wouldn’t believe. She can’t wait for him to be back annoying her, like big brothers are supposed to do.

“We’re just so grateful for the outpouring of support that we’ve received on his behalf,” Duran-LeVine said. “He’s going to be overwhelmed when he sees how much everybody has worried about him and loves him.”

Contact Chase Hunter at chase.hunter@sonomanews.com and follow @Chase_HunterB on Twitter.

Correction: A former version of this article misstated the actions that preceded Paulino Duran’s bicycling accident as a “hit and run” and have been changed to more accurately reflect Duran riding a bike and hitting a parked car.

A previous version of this article said Duran had been intubated on and off. Duran has been intubated only once.

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