A Puyallup car dealership donated a white pickup truck last week to a Snohomish County man who was injured this fall.
Robert Bentz, 45, was taking his son to the first day of school in September when he was hit by a man who allegedly was driving a stolen car the wrong way on the road. According to news reports, the driver of the other car, a 24-year-old man, died as a result of the accident.
Bentz survived the crash, but it has been a long road to recovery. And the construction worker was left without a work truck.
“(The car) came at us so fast, we didn’t have time to react on anything,” the Granite resident told KOMO-4 News. “It just flashes so fast, and I thought I was pretty much dead.”
The single father of four boys suffered a fractured back and broken bones in his leg, ankle and jaw. He also had a torn artery and internal bleeding. KOMO donated $4,500 to help Bentz pay his bills.
Shannon Harnish, owner of Chevrolet of Puyallup, said she saw the news report and was moved to act.
“I saw this story on KOMO and was touched that he was a single father of four boys,” Harnish said. “It’s a miracle he is alive and doing so well. We wanted to help him with a truck to make his life a little easier.”
Calling the situation “horrific,” Harnish said she was especially touched because “the hardest job in the world is being a single parent. He has been raising four boys by himself. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
The dealership gave Bentz the keys to a 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche last week.
“I was shocked,” Bentz said. “Nobody ever expects that. It felt good in my heart. We needed it bad. My first thought was, ‘Are you sure this is for me? My God, thank you.’ ”
“Thank you for helping me and my kids,” he added. “My kids are No. 1 in my life. It is crazy that they (Chevrolet of Puyallup) came to help. I was in a jam, and they came to help.”
Bentz hoped his doctor will release him to return to work in six weeks. He’s able to drive now, although he’s still sore. He recently had seven teeth pulled.
Bentz joked he really didn’t want to drive the Avalanche.
“I don’t want to get it dirty,” he said with a laugh.
The Snohomish County Red Cross recently honored Bentz as a hero because, at the instant of the accident, he turned his pickup so his side of the truck would take the hit, rather than the side his son, Rody, was sitting.Tom McCrady is a freelance reporter for the Herald.