Sunday Nov 15 2009
Family shares memories of crash victim
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
Daniel Klotz’s 48-day survival story is about strength and heroes
For 48 days, Daniel Klotz survived a motorcycle accident. For 48 days, the 21-year-old and his family had every hope that the fun-loving Meadow Vista man would walk out of the hospital. But on the 48th day, Klotz drifted into his final sleep, with his family, fiancée and loved ones quietly watching him take his last breath. “I truly believe those 48 days given to us — not knowing that whole time that Daniel was going to pass away — were a gift from God,” said Anthony Klotz, Daniel’s father. On Sept. 10, Daniel Klotz was riding his motorcycle on Placer Hills Road when he lost control, left the roadway and hit a tree. That morning, Weimar resident Jason Argenbright was late to work and came upon a scene he could immediately tell was serious. He called 9-1-1, parked his truck in the middle of the two-lane road and went to kneel next to a man he didn’t know who was lying face down. The young man was trying to move. Argenbright said he tried to keep him still and remind him repeatedly that help was on the way. “He really didn’t say a whole lot and I could see in his eyes that I really didn’t think he was going to make it,” Argenbright recalled. “At that point I said a prayer over him and just stayed with him until the paramedics came.” At the time, Argenbright said he was just doing what he thought anyone else would do. Anthony Klotz, however, said he believes it was those initial prayers that helped his son cling to life even after he bled out internally before making it to Sutter Roseville hospital. Daniel Klotz’s badly injured body went through 80 pints of blood within the first 24 hours of his survival. He was revived twice before he was inside the emergency room and the doctors told his family to say their goodbyes. But then — his dad said — a miracle happened. Daniel Klotz was still living and his brain was functioning despite the heavy beating his vital organs took and the amount of blood he lost. The then-20-year-old Colfax High School graduate was strong. His will to live was apparent with each day as he communicated with his family through nodding and by mouthing what he wanted to say. “We all started to learn lip reading,” Anthony Klotz said. There were difficult days in Trauma Room B when Anthony Klotz could tell his son was deeply depressed. During that time Anthony Klotz stayed glued to a chair next to his son’s bedside for four days and four nights and prayed. ‘It was like a love story’ There was also the day that Anthony Klotz and his wife, Pat Klotz, who was Daniel’s stepmother, helped their son propose to his girlfriend, Crystal Rivard. Prior to his accident, Daniel Klotz had already told Rivard that he wanted to marry her. The two developed a close friendship almost four years ago working together at the Holiday Market. About six months prior to the accident, Rivard said she couldn’t imagine living her life with Daniel as just her friend. “He had told me he loved me since the day he met me,” Rivard said. Rivard said Daniel Klotz had already told her wanted to propose after a month of dating. She initially told him to wait, because at just 19, she wanted to be a little older before she got married. But during one of her many visits to Daniel Klotz’s hospital room, she was shocked to walk in and see her boyfriend holding up a ring and asking her — with the tubes removed from his throat, in a scratchy voice — if she would marry him. “I’d always catch him wandering in the jewelry department but I was surprised,” Rivard said of the recent proposal. Rivard’s mother, Rhonda, was among the close family and friends beside Daniel Klotz’s bed during his struggle. She had developed a bond with the man who was to be her son-in-law and watched the relationship grow between him and her daughter. “It was like a love story,” Rhonda Rivard said. Remembering Daniel On Daniel Klotz’s 48th day in the hospital, his liver failed and the family — who was certain their loved one would make it out — watched him peacefully pass away on Oct. 27. On Nov. 7, Anthony Klotz said he was stunned to see the Sierra Grace Fellowship Church on Luther Road filled to the brim with more than 500 people. The family was planning a quiet memorial service for the fun-loving, full-of-life, prankster they loved so much. The number of people who felt so touched by Daniel Klotz overwhelmed them. There were nurses that helped Daniel Klotz while he was in the hospital, more than 250 men from various motorcycle clubs filling the church pews and many more people who they didn’t even know. “We’d like to thank so many people personally but we can’t,” Anthony Klotz said. Anthony Klotz said he can’t thank enough the four doctors and multiple nurses for the kindness and care they showed his son. When he thinks of his son, Anthony Klotz said he remembers a strong, caring individual whose death is now a story about the heroes who helped him fight and his own will to live. “He was a very strong, caring, kind and loving individual,” Anthony Klotz said. “He cared for his family and he loved his fiancée very much.” When Daniel Klotz’s mother, Joyce Short, was asked what she would remember most about her son, she responded, “his love.” “He was a great kid and he fought tremendously for life,” Short said. Pat Klotz said she will remember how he never forgot her birthday and always sent a card and flowers. “Everybody’s going to miss him terribly — it’s a great loss,” Pat Klotz said. “He brought so much into everybody’s life: happiness, laughter, smiles. That’s what Daniel was all about.” Jenifer Gee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.