Ripon man battling for his life following fight |

Ripon man battling for his life following fight

Adam Jensen
FacebookDerek "Zippy" Penaranda

A 30-year-old Ripon man who was involved in a fight at a South Lake Tahoe bar late last week has suffered severe brain damage and is in a fight his life in a Reno hospital, according to family members.

Derek “Zippy” Penaranda is in a coma at Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno, according to Penaranda’s father, Wayne Penaranda. His health has stabilized in recent days, but doctors have given him only a slim chance of regaining consciousness, Penaranda said Tuesday.

While celebrating his 30th birthday at Mo’s Place, Derek Penaranda was allegedly asked to leave the sports bar due to unruly conduct. He punched the owner of Mo’s Place, Manish “Mo” Patel, and knocked him unconscious, according to a May 21 statement from the city.

Penaranda himself was then rendered unconscious while being detained by the bar’s security staff, according to the statement.

Police arrived at the sports bar about 12:30 a.m. May 20 and found Penaranda lying unresponsive on the floor. He had no pulse and was not breathing. Firefighters performed CPR on Penaranda and were able to re-establish a pulse.

He was then taken to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno and has not regained consciousness.

Police have released few details of the incident, which remains under investigation. Video footage of the incident has been made available to police, said Lt. David Stevenson.

Patel, who was taken to Barton Memorial Hospital for treatment following the incident, declined to comment on the incident when reached by phone Tuesday afternoon.

Penaranda suffered “extensive damage to his cerebral cortex,” from the incident, said Wayne Penaranda. His son is battling a sinus infection and pneumonia. Penaranda is breathing on his own, which will be a key to any recovery, his father said. Wayne Penaranda acknowledged the odds are not in his son’s favor.

“People in worse shape have come back,” Penaranda said. “So we’re hopeful, but realistic.”

The weekend of the altercation, the Penarandas had rented a house in the Tahoe Keys in celebration of Wayne and Debbie Penaranda’s 39th wedding anniversary, as well as Penaranda’s birthday. Penaranda, who was employed by California Living and Energy as a building energy efficiency evaluator, had gone to Mo’s Place with a group of friends to see a show by the bluegrass band Hot Buttered Rum String Band.

He had plans to marry his longtime girlfriend, according to his father.

“The sad thing is, he is in a coma and he has a 10 percent chance of waking up,” said Sue Meyers, Penaranda’s godmother. “In other words, it would take a miracle.”

About 500 people attended a picnic for Penaranda in Ripon Sunday, raising about $6,000 to pay for his medical care and travel expenses for family members, who have visited him in shifts since his injury.

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