OUT OF THE GATE
Utah Coach and Rowmark Racer Recover From Head-On Crash
Scotty Veenis and Hank Shipman slammed on driver’s
side by Jeep near Mount Hood BY HANK MCKEE
Scotty Veenis mugs for the camera during the Park City Ski Team alumni gathering last month.
The scene of the accident.
CLAIRE ABBE; OREGON STATE POLICE
Pinned by the engine of the Rowmark Academy Sub-
urban that came through the dashboard, coach Scotty
Veenis continued talking to student-athlete Hank Ship-
man, trapped in the seat behind him, after a horrific traffic
crash at milepost 65 on Highway 35 just south of Mount
Hood Meadows in Oregon.
According to reports, the accident occurred about 5 p.m.
on April 9 as the team of skiers returned from a FIS com-
petition at Mt. Hood to their accommodations. They were
traveling down the canyon when they were rammed by
a Jeep headed up the canyon. Police reported that the
driver of the Jeep, 22-year-old Drew Smith, attempted to
pass a tractor-trailer on a blind curve. The athletes in the
Suburban said coach Veenis swerved in order to take
the full impact of the crash on his side of the vehicle.
“Scott Veenis is the true hero in this story,” wrote one of
the athletes on the Ski Racing website after the accident.
“By swerving at the last second, he saved the lives of the
athletes that walked away.”
In addition to Veenis and Shipman, those in the Row-
mark Suburban were Hunter Stuercke, Zach Young, An-
drew Rutledge, Zach Merrill and Jake Graves. When the
Suburban caught fire after impact, they retrieved a fire
extinguisher from the tractor-trailer to battle the flames.
The crash closed the highway for about two hours, po-
Shipman underwent surgery for a broken leg and ad-
ditional surgery to fuse four damaged vertebrae in his
neck. He had been seated directly behind Veenis. Ship-
man had reported no feeling on the left side of his body
after being airlifted to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in
Portland, but at press time was reporting “tingling” sen-
sations after surgery, which doctors said was encourag-
ing. A plate was inserted to stabilize his neck. Shipman
also sustained a head laceration and broken scapula.