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‘He’s a tough kid.’: 13-year-old WF boy hit by car remains in critical, but stable condition

Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 6:02 PM CDT
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WEST FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - A 13-year-old West Fargo boy has a long road to recovery after being hit by a car while on his bicycle over the weekend.

Taren Klein remains at Sanford Hospital tonight in critical, but stable condition after officials say he was hit by a young driver near 33rd Ave. and 8th St. E., just before 4:30 Sunday evening. North Dakota Highway Patrol says it’s still investigating the crash, but early reports state the 21-year-old driver didn’t see Taren as he biked across the road. Valley News Live is not naming the driver as he has not yet been charged.

September 25 marked Taren’s 13th birthday, where he spent the day in Itaska State Park with his grandma and grandpa before a family get-together at the Klein family’s West Fargo home.

“We made a bunch of burgers on the grill and sat around and talked and celebrated, opened gifts. It was a real good birthday,” John-Paul Klein, Taren’s father said.

Just one day later, tragedy struck just blocks away from the Klein home as Taren was riding his bike back from the grocery store.

“There was actually a lot of medical experience at the grocery store, luckily, that was there to help him until the ambulance got there and our family’s really thankful for that,” Klein said.

Klein says he and his wife thought the Taren had gone to a friends house earlier that afternoon, but couldn’t be sure as the 13-year-old forgot his phone at home. As the minutes turned into hours Sunday evening, Klein says concerns heightened as his younger children came home empty handed after checking friends’ houses Taren normally spent time at.

Klein says around 7 p.m., he called police to report his son missing, and says a dispatcher told him an officer would be contacting him soon.

“Then I saw the news article about a teenager being hit. I knew he wasn’t over at anyone’s house at that point,” Klein said.

Klein says he called Sanford Hospital to see if it was his son, but hospital staff couldn’t confirm the identity of the injured boy.

“I had to know if the kid who was admitted was alive so that I didn’t have to worry as much, and he was,” Klein recalled.

Taren suffered a broken femur, fractured skull and jaw, as well as road rash and chest trauma. He has undergone brain surgery to allow room for his brain to swell while it heals and to repair his cracked skull. Taren will need further surgery and recovery time and is expected to remain under sedation for 10 to 14 days.

“He’s a tough kid. He’s fighting. We talk to him a lot, reading books to him, just letting him know we’re there with him,” Klein said.

Klein says he wants to thank the community for the outpouring support both by Taren’s hockey family and total strangers. The Klein family asks for continued prayers and well wishes in the coming days as his generous and tenacious son continues the fight of his life.

“We’re taking it a minute, one hour, one day at a time. Any positivity we can get, we hold on to it,” he said.

A GoFundMe page for Taren and his family has already raised over $20,000. You can find it here.

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