Sheriff’s Office happy to report: Snaza off ventilator, able to talk

Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza, as seen at a Feb. 29 press conference.
Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza, as seen at a Feb. 29 press conference. sbloom@theolympian.com

Nearly a week after suffering life-threatening injuries in a motorcycle crash, Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza is once again breathing on his own and and able to speak with his family.

Snaza woke up Monday, and a ventilator that was helping him breathe was removed, the Sheriff’s Office reported in a news release. The Sheriff’s Office said Snaza “seemed to be in good spirits and is aware of his surroundings” and “is now able to communicate with his family.”

However, Snaza does have a severe laceration on his tongue. And he remains in the critical care unit at Kootenai Health in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Snaza was injured in a motorcycle crash Aug. 23 when he lost control of his Harley-Davidson on a rural highway in Montana. He wasn’t wearing a helmet.

The sheriff’s injuries include a punctured lung, a lacerated kidney, a lacerated tongue, a broken left arm and a damaged right hand. Surgeons fused a bone in his neck last week, but Snaza has been able to move his legs and fingers.

The news release from the Sheriff’s Office ended this way: “The healing begins and we will continue to share thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery. TCSO and the family would still remind visitors not to expect contact with the sheriff as he remains in a critical care unit that would not allow for anyone other than family member contacts.”