OSU Parade Crash Victim Visits Co-Workers At American Airlines

Tuesday, May 24th 2016, 2:53 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Last October, a man from Skiatook was seriously injured in the crash at the OSU Homecoming Parade. Monday, he was able to go back to work for the first time.

Everyone expected Leo Schmitz to walk back into American Airlines eventually, but few people expected it would be so soon - including him.

"I did not expect to be back this quick, but we've been working every day, hard, to build my leg muscles up," the mechanic said.

Schmitz was seriously injured in the crash at the Homecoming Parade, in fact; he lost part of his left leg.

5/4/2016 Related Story: Adacia Chambers Pleads Not Guilty In OSU Homecoming Parade Crash

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.

10/27/2015 Related Story: Family: American Airlines Mechanic Saved Little Girl In OSU Tragedy 

Some of the payoff of that hard work was getting back to the maintenance base for the first time, and getting all the hugs and handshakes.

 American Airlines honored their mechanics Tuesday, and Schmitz was a guest of honor.

 Coworker, Jason Yoder said, "Everyone is excited just to have him back for visit today, just to have him walking the hangar floor is a tremendous success in and of itself.”

 Schmitz is looking forward to the day when he can go back to work some in the avionics shop - which could be as soon as next month.

 For now, just walking is a milestone - and that's made possible with about as advanced a prosthetic as there is. That was possible with the help of his coworkers, the airline, the union and plenty of people who don't know him, who gave money to help.

 His message to his friends back at work was simply, thanks.

Schmitz said, "Basically what I told them was ‘thank you for your support for praying and for everything you've been doing.’"

His friends raised more than $18,000 dollars for him through a GoFundMe site.