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Sheriff Snaza remains in critical condition in Idaho

Snaza
Snaza sbloom@theolympian.com

Sheriff John Snaza is still in critical condition following a Tuesday motorcycle crash in Montana, according to Kootenai Health staff.

However, the 51-year-old is making some progress, said Lt. Tim Rudloff of the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office. And since news of Snaza’s crash broke Wednesday morning, the Sheriff’s Office has received an outpouring of support from the community.

“It’s been overwhelming support from the community, on social media and by email. Everyone has just been so positive,” Rudloff said.

Snaza had a clear CT scan and could move when doctors asked him to, Rudloff wrote Thursday evening in a news release. He is still under sedation and is on a respirator.

Snaza had been traveling with a group of friends on state Highway 200 at milepost 23 near Noxon when he lost control of his 2009 Harley-Davidson while driving around a curve, said Trooper Steve Gaston of the Montana Highway Patrol. Snaza may have been trying to pass the other motorcyclists when he went off an embankment. He wasn’t wearing a helmet.

In Montana, motorcyclists age 18 and older aren’t required to wear helmets.

Snaza was airlifted to Kootenai Health in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

At about 7 p.m. Wednesday, the Sheriff’s Office announced that Snaza underwent surgery to fuse a bone in his neck. Rudloff said the surgery went well.

Gaston said weather was not a factor in the crash, and Snaza was traveling at highway speed. The crash is still under investigation.

Snaza, 51, is a Navy veteran who was first hired by the Sheriff’s Office in 1993 and elected Thurston County sheriff in 2010. He is vice president of the Washington State Sheriffs’ Association and serves on a number of executive boards, including the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, the Family Support Center, and Big Brothers Big Sisters for Southwest Washington.

Donations to the Snaza family can be made at any KeyBank branch to the Snaza Support Fund.

The family has asked that the Sheriff’s Office be the point of contact for any cards, flowers or well wishes at this time. They may be sent to 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW, Olympia.

Staff writer Kenny Ocker contributed to this report.

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