On October 21, 2020, Captain II Scott Souter was involved in a horrific auto versus bike accident. Scott was the cyclist who was making his way to the riverbed for a morning ride, which he had taken many times before, when suddenly a vehicle hit him from the rear going 60 mph. Scott sustained serious traumatic injuries and was flown by Mercy Air to Antelope Valley Trauma Center where doctors and staff would begin the task of implementing life-saving measures.
Initially, his injuries included a traumatic brain injury, subarachnoid brain hemorrhage, fractured vertebrae and a closed tib-fib fracture to his right leg. This would only be the beginning.
Scott was subsequently placed in a medically induced coma, and as days and weeks passed, he developed significant secondary issues, which included pneumonia resulting in ARDS and he was placed on a ventilator for 42 days. This became an urgent, critical moment and Scott remained in critical condition for eight weeks.
There was one specific moment when Scotty was first admitted to the emergency room, that a nurse made a statement that basically said, “Scott is in a marathon and he is in the first mile and he is walking.” It was a painstaking time for Scott and all who love and support him, to know that each day he was fighting for his life and knowing how dire the situation was. Days passed and thankfully his body responded to the antibiotics and the pneumonia began to clear. He remained in the CCU for a little over two weeks and then spent six weeks at Barlow Respiratory Hospital. Scott was then transferred to a NeuroRestorative facility where he spent the next eight weeks. Scott slowly started responding, first by opening his eyes and tracking and eventually he was able to communicate verbally. He is now at Casa Colina Rehabilitation Hospital to help further his recovery.
Knowing Scott is a fighter and knowing that many prayers were being lifted up on his behalf, we knew he would make it through. Doctors have truly been amazed at his resiliency and his fighting spirit. This has helped him tremendously to continue on this path of healing.
Throughout this entire harrowing journey his wife and family have remained by his side, even though it has been very difficult (due to strict hospital guidelines in place because of the pandemic). Amy and her daughters, Morgan and Moret, and sons, Seth, a Marine, and Shane, an LAFD Firefighter, along with Scott’s brother Rod Souter, an LAFD Battalion Chief, and close family and friends, have all been supporting Scott during this time. Scott has had to endure so much and yet his fighting spirit is still evident when you speak to him. He is a fighter and is fighting every day to get back to his family and life.
Our friendship that began many years ago on SOD days, would eventually lead to Scott being my “B” shift relief at Fire Station 33 and continued as my relief at Fire Station 35 up until his accident. Our friendship spans over 20 years and I have been very fortunate to call Scotty a firefighter brother and more importantly my friend. He is genuine, loyal and is a committed officer that has dedicated nearly 30 years to the department. I am missing our relief conversations that would start with 10 minutes of station work and would end with 50 minutes of sharing about our families and lives. His station misses him tremendously.
Scott and his wife, Amy, have had opportunities to talk and reflect on many things that have happened since the accident. They have shared how thankful they are for all who stood by their side as they endured this nightmare. They are thankful for many things, but especially LA County Fire Stations 133 and 134 for helping them while Scott spent 17 days at Antelope Valley Hospital by setting up a tent outside for visiting friends and family; Fire Station 35 members who helped in various ways from putting up Christmas lights, making a Christmas Dinner, yard maintenance etc.; Fire Station 9, who put up an electric gate at the Souter residence; and a special thanks to UFLAC’s Adam Walker and LAFRA Jeff Cawdrey for the continued support.
They have also discussed the importance of specific issues as they relate to Scotty’s accident. One being the fact that he was wearing a helmet while he rode his bike. This may be one of the reasons why he is alive today. His helmet protected him.
In addition, a person who drives a vehicle that is tired or sleepy can cause a horrific situation like this in an instant. Scott’s life was changed forever because someone decided to drive home when they were exhausted. This was a bad decision that we can all learn from, especially in our line of work. It is important to take the time to rest before getting behind the wheel and driving home.
In spite of the injuries, Scott is a fighter and he fought to stay alive for his family and continues to fight each day to get back to his life. Moment by moment, little by little, step by step he will get better.
We love you and miss you at the fire house, keep fighting and we will continue to pray for your speedy recovery.
Get well Brother,
Andrew Ruiz Fire, Station 35 “C” Platoon