Community members rally around man who lost leg after downtown Steamboat crash
Time seemed to stop for Matthew Engle for a few seconds after he heard crunching metal last week while he was in downtown Steamboat Springs.
Engle was working with his brother, Zach, and their colleague Andrew Leedom on a project for Engle’s window cleaning company, YESS Cleaning. The three were parked on the side of Lincoln Avenue at 2:55 p.m. Thursday and were grabbing tools out of the trunk of the vehicle when Engle heard a crash. He turned to see what had happened and saw his brother and Leedom flying midair, then hit the ground.
Engle rushed over to help the two and saw a fountain of blood. That image hasn’t left his mind.
“Everything just kind of went to a blur,” Engle said. “It’s still (expletive) haunting me.”
Scott Schneegas, 26, was driving a vehicle westbound down Lincoln Avenue when he drove into vehicles parked on the side of the road. Leedom and Engle’s brother were standing nearby and were struck by two of the parked vehicles due to the impact.
Both were transferred to UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center. Engle said his brother sustained minor injuries to his arm. Leedom, however, had two broken legs, one of which had to later be amputated, according to an affidavit filed in Routt County Court.
As the two brothers realized Leedom was seriously hurt, they grabbed cleaning towels from their truck and a tourniquet from a trauma kit, which Engle said he carries everywhere.
“It was rough,” Engle said. “His leg was pretty much off at the knee.”
Engle said he is also deeply thankful for Bridget Ross, a pediatric physician assistant at Sleeping Bear Pediatrics in Steamboat, who happened to be nearby and was able to direct the brothers and provide medical care while they waited for an ambulance.
“I knew it was important that I help,” Ross said. “I was very afraid, but I knew I had to help.”
Ross was unlocking her bike in the area when she heard the crash, followed by people loudly yelling, then saw a cloud of smoke rise over the street.
“I was in disbelief,” she said. “I saw a gentleman on the sidewalk that had a very compromised leg. I witnessed real human emotions everywhere I looked.”
Ross said a local mother and an ICU nurse passing by also pulled over to help the situation.
“We worked as a team,” she emphasized.
Despite suffering the severe injury, Ross said Leedom was “an incredible patient” and was kind and hopeful.
“Never have I seen a patient so cooperative and grateful as I did that day,” she said. “The gentleman was conscious, suffering but so kind. Very brave.”
Engle said he knew Leedom to be a kind and hopeful man with a great work ethic.
“Everyone on the crew loves him,” Engle said. “He does a great job.”
The two brothers have set up a GoFundMe for Leedom, which can be found at gf.me/u/zskpm8.
Steamboat Springs Police Department officers responded to the incident and conducted an alcohol breathalyzer exam on Schneegas, which showed he did not have alcohol in his system. Schneegas, however, did admit to smoking cannabis earlier in the day, and officers found three cannabis pipes in the car, one of which was half smoked and sitting on the driver’s side of the vehicle, according to the affidavit.
Officers arrested Schneegas on one felony count of vehicular assault and three misdemeanors including third-degree assault, reckless driving and driving on a revoked license.
To reach Alison Berg, call 970-871-4229 or email aberg@SteamboatPilot.com.
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