Las Vegas Sun

July 26, 2014

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WORKPLACE SAFETY:

Orleans accident survivor cheats death once more

Recovery earns him nickname ‘miracle man’

Image

Steve Marcus

David Snow and his wife, Kelly, leave Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center on Thursday. The driver who hit his motorcycle was charged with leaving the scene.

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David Snow suffered serious injuries trying to save two co-workers who died in a manhole accident last year at the Orleans. He was critically injured three weeks ago in a motorcycle accident.

Kelly Snow could give a lesson on dressing for tragedy.

Don’t put on sandals. Your feet will get cold. Remember to bring a sweat shirt.

“No one should know this stuff. But OK, this is what we’re used to,” Snow recalls, thinking of the night of Aug. 5, when she got a phone call that her husband, David, was in the hospital again.

“I was just standing there crying, completely freaked out, getting out of my pajamas.”

David had been struck while riding a motorcycle in Henderson. When paramedics found him he was unresponsive and had lost a lot of blood.

Kelly Snow headed to the trauma room. She knew the drill well because her husband, now 31, had spent weeks on life support as the lone survivor in a well-known Las Vegas tragedy.

Snow nearly died 18 months ago trying to rescue two fellow workers who were overcome by noxious fumes inside a manhole at the Orleans. The accident occurred after the company that owns the resort, Boyd Gaming Corp., failed to come up with a plan to deal with manhole problems, despite warnings.

Doctors were fairly certain he would die, as had the men he tried to save, Richard Luzier and Travis Koehler. At the least, Snow would end up in a vegetative state, doctors told the family.

But after six weeks in the hospital, Snow walked out. And after a two-month recovery, he was back at work, this time at Sam’s Town, also owned by Boyd Gaming.

Federal investigators this week said Nevada’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration should have handled its review of Boyd’s role in the fatal accident better. The finding was consoling to the Snows and others critical of the way the state handled the case. David Snow learned of the finding in his hospital bed.

Then on Thursday, the man the Carnegie Hero Fund gave an award to for bravery (along with Koehler for his attempt to save Luzier) checked out of Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, seated in a wheelchair. His now-frail body had a giant cast on one broken leg and casts on both broken arms. His spleen had been removed. Ribs were broken. His left kidney no longer functions. At one point doctors thought his foot would have to be amputated.

Yet again, Snow had defied the worst predictions.

Sunrise’s rehabilitation attendants call him the “miracle man.”

Henderson Police spokesman Keith Paul likened him to the teens in the movie “Final Destination,” who continually cheat death.

Snow is just looking forward to riding his motorcycle again, someday.

“You have to get back on the horse,” Snow said as he left the hospital with Kelly.

She rolled her eyes. “I’ll get you a bicycle, with streamers! So everyone will see you on the road.” Even before the accident, Snow liked to joke that he is accident prone.

He broke the same leg in a 1995 motorcycle accident. Since his recovery from the Orleans accident, he injured himself several times at Sam’s Town — a head bashing and other “minor scrapes” he shrugs off.

According to Henderson Police, a Nissan Sentra pulled out in front of Snow and caused the accident. The driver, identified as Roberto Yepez Andrade, 48, drove off but returned to the scene. He was charged with leaving the scene of an accident.

The Snows say Yepez Andrade hasn’t produced any proof of insurance. Yepez Andrade could not be reached by the Sun for comment.

After the Orleans accident, Snow’s 4-year-old daughter, Emily, was too young  to understand. This time, she cried every night for the three weeks Snow has been in the hospital, asking for him, Kelly said.

When she first talked to him after surgery, “the first thing he said was, ‘I’m sick of hospitals.’ I said, ‘You’re sick of them. I’m sick of them!’ ” Kelly Snow recalled. “I told him, ‘I’m done with this.’ ”

But as Kelly drove David away from the hospital, he wore a sly grin, the kind that suggests he knows he’ll be back to cheat death yet again.

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