MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota teenager who was driving the car when his sister died in an accident fought through his own pain to try to save her.
The accident happened one week ago as 17-year-old Tristen Maetzold drove his three siblings to school in Milaca. His 13-year-old sister, Katrina, died. His 11-year-old brother, Devon, is still unconscious.
Tristen was badly hurt with a broken arm, leg and punctured lung. After getting out of the hospital Monday, he talked to WCCO-TV about a day few will ever understand.
On a quiet country road, it started as many a sibling discussion does.
“We were talking about normal school stuff,” Tristen said. “Talking to my brother about, like, how he’s going to get his butt whipped at school and how I’m going to have to beat him up and stuff.”
Seconds after joking about hurting his brother, Tristen was clawing to help him.
“I looked over….and I just shrugged my arm into the car as hard as I could to get it in and just pulled him right over to try and keep the blood from going into his mouth,” he said.
Tristen says the windows were frosted when he crossed the intersection. He did not notice what his sister did.
“I hardly saw the semi,” Tristen said. “I just heard her, how panicked she was and I barely glanced my eyes and just jumped right over.”
He says Katrina screamed “Semi!” and lunged over their other sister, Patience, who has Down syndrome. And Tristen leaned towards 11-year-old Devin.
“If it wasn’t for her even just shouting that out or jumping on Patience, I’m pretty sure it would have been a funeral for four instead of just one,” Tristen said.
Katrina died at the scene. Devin suffered a brain injury. He still hasn’t woken up.
“I just know from Devin he’s going to fight, he’s going to make it through eventually,” Tristen said.
Tristen is pretty banged up himself. There is a rod in his leg, he has a broken arm and an injured lung. But that’s not what hurts the most.
“I tell my dad all the time that I’m not gonna blame myself or I’m not gonna say it’s my fault, but I do wish that I could take her place,” Tristen said. “She deserves that much.”
He knows he can’t, but he is hoping that the one moment that changed his life will also change yours.
“You’ve gotta cherish your family while you’ve got them, you don’t know whether or not the next left turn you’re going to take is going to be the last with your family,” he said.
Money is another struggle the Maetzolds are now wrestling with. If you want to help them with funeral expenses, you can donate to the Maetzold Family Fund by sending donations to the First National Bank of Milaca.
The family also plans to start an art scholarship, because Katrina loved to draw. Her funeral is Wednesday morning.