Price on his sister's death: "She was my guardian angel.'
Brian Price closes his eyes but sleep rarely comes, not more than for an hour a day, not since the hit-and-run automobile accident last week that killed his sister and left two nephews who call him dad without their mother.
“Yeah, she was like my personal cheerleader, like my No. 1 fan,'' Price said Friday of his sister, Bridget James, 33, who died in surgery from injuries sustained in an accident in Los Angeles as he waited to board a plane. "She would be there every day, especially after every game, win, lose or draw, she was like, “Go get them next time.
“She was a special person. We had a bond. We definitely had a bond. She was real protective. You couldn’t say nothing about me, nothing wrong about me or she would get on you. She didn’t care. She talked the most trash – ever. She was my guardian angel and she’s my guardian angel now. It’s just very unfortunate what happened. I know she’s looking down on me now.''
Tragedy is no stranger to Price or his family. He lost two older brothers to gang-related shootings by the time he was 15. Bridget was the one who helped Price get through the anger and anguish.
Just a day earlier, Price had received a heartfelt text from Bridget, thanking him for taking her two sons, ages 7- and 9, to their first Los Angeles Dodgers game.
“I remember, I got a text the day before she got killed,'' Price said. "My little nephew, E.J., he loves, loves baseball. He’s loves baseball and I finally took him to a baseball game. I asked for permission to take them when they were in school and she was, “Boy, you don’t ask for permission to take them.’ “My nephews look at me like their dad. Their dads aren’t in their lives so, they look at me as their father. Sometimes, they’re like, “Dad, I mean, uncle.’ I took them to the game and it was their first baseball game, so I wanted to make it special. So I picked them up in a limo. It was their first time in a limo. I had snacks for them and stuff and we went to the game. I bought them souvenirs and stuff for the game. When they got home, she sent me a text and said, “I really appreciate you doing that. You’re their father figure. I love you so much. You’ve had such a positive impact.’ It was a real long text and really emotional.
"I wanted to see her that night, but I didn’t drop the kids off. My (other) sister dropped them off and then the next day I was leaving. Sure enough, I wanted to go see her for a reason but I didn’t make it happen. I should’ve seen her.''
Price was going through the security line at Los Angeles International airport when the first missed phone calls arrived. He learned later that Bridget's car had been struck broadside, she tried to regain control of the vehicle, but it crossed into on-coming traffic and was struck two more times. The driver that caused the accident fled the scene.
"What they had told me was she was in accident and had gotten rushed into surgery,'' Price said. "I was like, “Okay, she’s strong. I was like, “Okay, they’ve got her in surgery but it didn’t sound bad. I didn’t know any of the details, they just said they rushed her to the hospital and she’s on her way to surgery. I was like, “Dang, surgery?’ Okay, she’s in surgery so I know she’s going to make it. She’s a strong individual.''
Price called his father, Frank, who urged him not to get on his flight.
“So I had him come pick me up, he came and picked me up from the airport and we were on our way to the hospital,'' Price said. "My sister called me and all I heard was yelling and screaming in the background. She said she didn’t make it.
“It didn’t feel real. I started cussing her out because I didn’t know it was real. I was like, “What the hell are you talking about?’ After it happened, it didn’t seem real. It still doesn’t seem real. It hasn’t really hit me. Sometimes it hits me for a couple of minutes. But it still doesn’t feel real.''
Price said he could not hold food down or sleep since the accident. He became sick and spent the three days in a Tampa hospital before being released Thursday afternoon.
“I haven’t been sleeping in like weeks,'' Price said. "I’d stay up all night and I go to sleep at like 7 in the morning and wake up in a hour and go about ther rest of my day. My sleep patterns have been all out of whack because of what happened. I was real sick, I started to get real sick, from the experience and being depressed and whatever. I don’t know, everything kind of fell out of whack.
“They gave me some Abien to sleep, but that didn’t even work. I was up, I was worried, it was just crazy. It still happens. Like if I doze off for an hour, I will wake up in the middle of the night and it felt like somebody was watching me or something. It’s crazy.’’
Price says he plans to adopt his nephews and bring them to Tampa when schook ends and the time is right.
"I know they’re excited to come out here and hang with me,'' Price said.
Price says he is a man of faith, but he admits, there are times when the thought of losing another sibling, this time a loving sister and mother, makes him angry. He prays for understanding.
"When tragedy does strike you, you have to look up to the skies and know that everything happens for a reason. We may not know that reason. I get (ticked) off just thinking about it, thinking why does this have to happen or why this or that. But who am I to question God. I’m just a humble servant.''