Family trying to recover from crash that left grandfather dead, grandson paralyzed
SAGINAW CO., Mich. (WNEM) - A family is trying to recover physically and emotionally after a tragic crash took the life of a loving grandfather in Saginaw County.
“Antonio’s just sorry for everything. That’s all he says. ‘I’m sorry grandma.’ and I said, ‘why are you sorry?’ He said, ‘I’m just sorry that you guys have to go through this for me ‘cause I’m broken. I just want to be normal,’” said Rachel Neitzelt, Antonio Martinez’s grandmother.
Antonio is the 6-year-old recovering both physically and mentally from a car crash in late February. The crash also took the life of his grandfather.
“I said, ‘you are normal. You are normal [sic].’ And he said, ‘grandpa shouldn’t have had to die like that.’ And I said, ‘I know.’ I said, ‘but when God wants his angels, he’s coming to get them,’” Neitzelt said.
Martinez was paralyzed after the crash in Kochville Township.
“His paralysis is from his torso down, like, I think by his pecs. Because I touched him the other day. He said he hurt a little bit, and I touched him right by his breast area and he said, ‘I don’t feel that.’ But if I went up a little bit higher like right here, he can feel this,” Neitzelt said.
The little boy’s grandfather, Ruben Maldonado, had a heart attack while driving Antonio and his 9-year-old sister A’Celia on Tittabawassee west of N. Center Road. Maldonado died at the scene and A’Celia saved Antonio’s life.
“A’Celia remembers a lot. She’s going through a lot of PTSD right now, still nightmares,” Neitzelt said.
Antonio is still in the hospital and doctors are trying to wean him off the ventilator and get him to move the muscles he can.
“He knows that he’s broken. He says, ‘but, I’m going to come home in a couple days,’” Neitzelt said.
You can help donate to the family’s GoFundMe here.
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