By John Gardner and John Hall
The Berthoud High School mascot is a Spartan. Legend has it that Spartans were the ultimate warriors. On Aug. 21, Berthoud lost a young Spartan in 2015 Berthoud High graduate, 19-year-old Michael Sneyder Woodiel.
Woodiel embodied a Spartan’s heart in not only his outstanding high school athletic career, but also in life − a life cut too short from the result of a fatal automobile accident on Storm Mountain, west of Loveland.
“Michael will be missed but will be remembered daily for his infectious smile and kind heart, especially to children and those who needed a friend,” shared Michael’s father, Bart Woodiel. “His greatest goal in life was to be a great husband and father to his future family.”
The accident occurred on Storm Mountain Drive west of Loveland in the Big Thompson Canyon, according to the Colorado State Patrol.
Woodiel was one of six passengers in a 1991 Chevrolet Suburban driven by Hunter Linderman, 18, of Loveland, was traveling east on Storm Mountain Drive at 8:30 a.m. Friday morning when the vehicle entered a right-hand curve in the road going too fast and lost control, CSP Trooper Nate Reid said in a written email response to the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor. The vehicle collided with a boulder, causing it to flip onto the passenger side. Woodiel was partially ejected and trapped under the vehicle according to Reid.
Linderman was arrested and booked in the Larimer County Detention Center and was due in court Monday morning for advisements. One other passenger, a 17-year-old Berthoud male was reported to have sustained minor injuries and was taken to McKee Medical Center in Loveland for treatment. There was no information on the 17-year-old’s condition.
The CSP continues its investigation. Reid said alcohol, drugs, and excessive speed are being investigated as contributing factors in the accident.
Woodiel overcame challenges throughout his life, starting with being born in Bogota, Colombia on July 22, 1996. Woodiel,
Berthoud became home for Michael, along with his sister Jenny Paola, in September 2006 when the pair was adopted by Bart and Kathy Woodiel. Michael’s family also includes his brother Justin Michael Woodiel and his wife, Andrea, a sister Stephany Lynn McClure and her husband, Matt, and two nieces, Neveah and Temperance McClure.
Upon arriving to Berthoud at 10 years old, Michael had only a year and a half of education and was trying to learn a new language and adjust to a new culture.
Michael played varsity football and competed in several events in track and field in the spring. Michael received the Josh Angelo Memorial recognition in 2014-2015 as a four-year participation in varsity football at BHS. He also took second place at state-level competitions in the 4 x 100 meters and 4 x 200 meter relays in 2012. As well, Michael participated in wrestling, track and field, and community outreach programs. He was selected as a Berthoud Surveyor Athlete of the Week in 2014 for his tremendous contributions to the Spartans football team.
Michael’s nonstop and tenaciously competitive spirit helped inspire all of the teammates with which he competed with, and was a catalyst for the 2014 state playoff-bound Spartans football team. It was easy to spot Michael, both on the football field and on the track; he was always that athlete who was moving just a little faster than anyone else; he knew only one way to compete and that was with all of his heart.
Michael planned to become a landscaper; he wanted to see things grow; be physical and use his hands to create something of beauty in the outdoors, according to his parents. He wanted to plant things that would bear fruit, and that’s exactly what he did. He planted seeds for all of those who knew him; that a smile and a competitive fire is a great combination in life.
An outpouring of shocked friends and community members inundated Facebook over the weekend and Monday morning as news of Woodiel’s passing circulated.
“[Micol] truly was a caring, loving, and simply compassionate young man. We will miss his smile,” read one comment.
“Our family would like to say thank you for the outpouring of love for Michael,” said Kathy. “Since the accident, the Berthoud community has been so supportive.”
A viewing was held at Viegut Funeral Home in Loveland, Wednesday. A memorial service at Lifespring Church, located at 743 Dotsero Ave., in Loveland, is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Thurs., Aug. 27. Memorial funds for Michael can be directed to The Ukraine Orphan Outreach Program at Guaranty Bank in Berthoud.
“In nine short years, Michael’s footprint on all of our lives was enormous,” Bart said. “Kathy and I are so very proud of Michael overcoming so many challenges to become the young man that he was.”
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