Family: American Airlines Mechanic Saved Little Girl In OSU Tragedy
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma - Three of the OSU Homecoming Parade Crash victims are at OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City. All three are still in critical condition and we're told one of them is being credited for saving the life of a little girl that scary morning in Stillwater.
His name is Leo Schmitz and he's 54.
"He's just this fun-loving, good guy, ya know," said Jason Yoder, a co-worker.
Schmitz is an American Airlines Avionics Technician, an Oklahoma State Cowboys fan and a real-life clown.
"He's no kidding, a registered, card-carrying clown. He can juggle, make balloon animals, ride the unicycle and he loves seeing people laugh and have a good time."
His friend and co-worker, Jason Yoder, says Schmitz was out to have a good time Saturday with his wife and family in Stillwater. OSU's homecoming parade and football game were on the agenda. But their first stop was to the airport to check out the MD-80 American Airlines had recently donated.
Yoder said, "He was just so excited to show his pride and joy, American Airlines and OSU tied together to the family."
They made it to the parade, but never to the game. Schmitz and his wife were at the end of the parade route, when a car came crashing through the crowd.
"It happened in an instant."
Schmitz was hit by the larger part of a police motorcycle. He took the brunt of the impact. And the family of 6-year-old Hadley Wyatt says his positioning saved their little girl, who was just released from the hospital.
"It's just Leo's heart and who he is to have that seventh sense, sixth sense/seventh sense about him to be in that place," Yoder said. "It's just something he would do."
Schmitz's legs are badly damaged and he has severe head trauma.
"He has a very long recovery and he's going need to fight through that, certainly."
He's been sedated since arriving at OU Medical Center and Yoder says he's friend would be the first to help a co-worker in need.
"Of all people, he's the guy at work that has a toolbox drawer full cards, for any occasion, good or bad. So when an event happens at work, Leo's the guy that gets the card out, everybody signs...if we need donations, we take donations and Leo's the one that center's all that."
So his buddies are stepping in. They set up an online fund raising account that's already raised more than 7-thousand dollars...filling Schmitz's shoes until he can stand on his own two feet again.
"Just stunned at the support on the GoFundMe sight. Just continue to pray. They are so thankful for the prayer support," Yoder said speaking on behalf of the Schmitz family.