Dairy Queen benefit for North Branch teen who died after ATV incident

After two weeks of fighting, 14-year-old Kody Roettjer died of his injuries.

A Dairy Queen restaurant in an east-central Minnesota city is holding a benefit for a 14-year-old boy who died last week.

Kody Roettjer of North Branch was in a "horrible" four-wheeler accident on Oct. 1, according to his GoFundMe page.

His family told FOX 9 the teenager had been riding the ATV with a friend. He had not been wearing a helmet, although the boy's mother, Tamyra, told the station her kids have always worn helmets.

"One time, one minute, taken just one second [and their] life [is] changed forever," she told FOX 9.

He suffered "significant brain trauma" and was taken to Gillette Children's Hospital in St. Paul in critical condition. His CaringBridge page says Roettjer fought for two weeks. Then on Oct. 15, he passed away.

"Kody won the fight and finished the race. He receives the crown. He is now with our savior Jesus. Keep praying for us the days nights and years ahead we will need it," his dad, Kurt, said in a CaringBridge post.

Now the Dairy Queen in North Branch will hold a benefit to help the boy's family pay hospital bills and for the funeral.

It starts at 4 p.m. Wednesday and runs through 10 p.m.

The Facebook event says during that time, all money raised will go directly to the Roettjer family.

If you can't make it there, you can donate via Roettjer's GoFundMe too.

ATV crashes

Last year, the Department of Natural Resources says there were 245 ATV crashes in Minnesota, the most in five years.

Of those, 221 resulted in some sort of injury. Fifteen were fatal.

According to Brainline.org, wearing a helmet reduces the risk of fatal head injuries by 42 percent. And they reduce the risk of non-fatal head injuries by 64 percent.

Riding an ATV is pretty popular for youth in the state. Data shows that as of last year, 41,278 kids between 11 and 15 years old were certified to drive one.

In Minnesota, youth can take ATV safety training classes beginning at age 11. To learn more about safety classes, click here.

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