CITRUS HEIGHTS — A surprise Hawaiian vacation meant to be a fun couples trip is anything but.
A Citrus Heights man is now paralyzed and confined to a hospital bed in Hawaii after an accident in the ocean left him with serious injuries to his spine and neck.
It was on the south shore of Oahu where Mike Droter and Jordan Lovas enjoyed the last few hours of their vacation in Hawaii.
“It was beautiful, it was fun for the first four hours,” said Jordan Lovas.
The couple was packing up to leave Sandy Beach when Lovas says her boyfriend jumped in the water one last time to body surf. Within minutes waves crashed over him and the 30-year-old broke his neck.
“It was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. He had absolutely no color in his body, no color in his fingertips, toes, his eyes were completely rolled back,” said Lovas, who is by Droter’s side in Hawaii.
Ten days after the accident, Droter is still in the intensive care unit in a Honolulu hospital. Doctors said he broke two vertebrae in his neck and injured his spinal cord. He’s paralyzed from the neck down and can’t even breathe on his own.
As rough as his road to recovery will be, Droter is awake, alert and can communicate by whispering.
Back home in Citrus Heights, Droter’s family and friends are trying to cope with the tragedy.
“I’m still in shock. I don’t want to believe it ’cause he’s so full of life, he’s so energetic,” said Shaun Deitzel, Droter’s best friend and roommate.
With the outpouring of support in Hawaii and in California, Deitzel said his best friend isn’t giving up hope.
“He’s been in high spirits and he wants to fight,” he said.
Lovas said Droter can’t leave Hawaii until he gets out of ICU.
Once he’s stable, he needs a specialized plane with medical equipment to fly out of Hawaii.
Friends have set up a GoFundMe account to try to raise money for that and other medical expenses.