‘Nobody’s Dying Today’

Nursing assistant Katelyn Losquadro stopped to help an injured driver of a single-car accident. That decision changed both of their lives.

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Nursing assistant Katelyn Losquadro was on her way home from work when she saw a single-car accident and stopped to help the injured driver. That decision changed the course of both of their lives. Photos by Michael Ventura

If she hadn't driven her friend home that night, Katelyn Losquadro sometimes thinks, or sat in her car for 10 minutes thumbing through her cellphone, everything might have been different. Matt Gault might be dead, and she probably would still be trying to string together enough money to get through nursing school.

Two lives changed that night, Losquadro tells herself.

Most nights after work at the Brookdale senior living facility in Potomac, Losquadro would be home by 11:30, walking in the door of the windowless basement apartment in Montgomery Village that she shares with her two cats. “It may not be much, but it’s mine,” she says of her home. “I got it by myself.”

On that Friday night in January 2017, she was sitting in the driver’s seat of her orange Volkswagen Beetle, the dream car she’d bought new in 2015 after working as a live-in caregiver for a dementia patient in Damascus. She’d finished her shift at Brookdale at 11, dropped off a co-worker and was idling at a stop sign near the woman’s Aspen Hill home. Losquadro texted friends and searched for music to listen to on the drive back to Gaithersburg.

Gault was on the highway by then. It was just shy of midnight. He and his friends had gone skiing that day in Pennsylvania. The Quince Orchard High School graduate comes from a family of athletes, and skiing is one of his passions. His parents, Chris and Robyn, who own Fleet Feet Sports in the Kentlands, like to run and cycle. His interests have always been more adventurous: rock climbing, skiing, snowboarding, barreling down the slopes as fast as he could. After hanging out at a friend’s house near Silver Spring, he and two others were driving back to Gaithersburg in his black Volkswagen Jetta. One friend was in the passenger seat, the other sat alongside the skis in the back.

They were driving west on Interstate 495 when they reached the split—I-495 curved off to the left, I-270 bent away to the right. Gault, then 20, was in the far left lane, but he needed to get onto I-270. “He did what I’ve done and I’m sure everybody’s done,” says his mother, Robyn. “He wanted to get over in the right-hand lane. There was a car in his blind spot. He didn’t want to hit the car and he overcorrected. We all think we can make it. We all do that.”

Gault’s car careened head-on into the guardrail on the left side of the entrance to I-270. The front end crumpled. The airbags deployed. The guardrail sliced through the inside of the Jetta, cut through the floorboard and ripped its way across the chassis. It missed Gault’s friends, but not him. The steel rail cut straight through his right leg below the knee, leaving his lower leg and foot in the backseat. Each heartbeat pumped blood through the open arteries.

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