W. Mich. teen to return home after accident in California

PARCHMENT, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A West Michigan teen involved in a serious bike accident in California is set to return home Monday.

18-year-old Charlie Eaton was visiting family at the end of July, and was riding alone on his bike when he crashed.

The Parchment High School graduate underwent emergency brain surgery.

Now, after weeks of rehab in a California hospital, Eaton is finally headed home.

Newschannel 3 spoke with family and friends Monday, as they prepared for his homecoming.

The Eatons are expected to land in Grand Rapids at about 6:00 p.m. Monday, and neighbors and community members have been putting up orange ribbons around the neighborhood, to let Charlie know they're still thinking about him.

Just days after the accident, orange ribbons lined the streets in Parchment in support of the teen.

"OUr original plan and hope was to line the streets with people waving and cheering him on as he came in, but the doctor said that that wouldn't be a good idea at this stage of his recovery, so we dialed it back," explained family friend Molly Lacy.

So it seemed only fitting that orange ribbons welcomed him home, this time lining his neighborhood.

Since the accient on July 30, the Parchment community has rallied around Charlie and his family.

"It's just crazy how much people, like, care; you don't expect that," Charlie's sister Betsy Eaton said.

The community has organized meals, fundraisers, t-shirts, bracelets, and offered a tremendous amount of support.

"We were there when he got his phone for the first time, and he had so many notifications, he was loving it," said Emily Eaton, Charlie's sister.

Charlie was expected to start at Western Michigan University Tuesday, but he will take the year off as he continues to undergo therapy.