Fellow American pro Jesse Thomas was riding behind Matt Russell and witnessed the accident.
“He had just caught me about 5-10 min before and was in front of me heading back into town from Mauna Lani at that first intersection that leads to Waikoloa,” said Thomas to Slowtwitch. “Tailwind section, haven’t looked but I’m guessing we were going well over 30mph, he was pushing hard. I saw a truck start to cross the intersection and thought, ‘that’s cutting it way too close’, then the next moment a van pulled out behind the truck to try to cross as well. It looked like the crossing guard was animated in some way, either trying to wave the van quickly through or trying to get it to stop, but I couldn’t tell what was happening in the brief moments it all went down. I sat up immediately and yelled “oh fuck!” Matt saw it too and sat up and hit his brakes but had probably less than a second to do so and the van was too wide to miss from his angle. He went straight into the side of it nearly full speed. Super loud crash, looked like bike parts shattering, etc…
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UPDATE from Triathlete Magazine:
Matt Russell’s wife, Gillian has shared this statement on Matt’s condition with us:
At this time, Matt remains in the hospital and he is getting the care he desperately needs.
Since the accident, Matt has had multiple procedures and surgeries to address the life threatening injuries he suffered Saturday.
While Matt is resting more comfortably than yesterday we are not out of the woods yet as Matt’s doctors remain concerned with the magnitude and severity of his concussion and vascular injuries.
Matt loves to race and I know he will want to get back when he’s able. However, it’s way too early to know if and when that may happen.
At this point we just want Matt home. Home with me and his newborn son – it’s going to take months of intense rehab to get him prepared for everyday life – and frankly the sooner we can get started the better.