A Henderson man weeks away from deploying to Afghanistan with the Nevada Army National Guard died Wednesday in a motorcycle accident near Lake Mead Parkway and Mohawk Drive.
Staff Sgt. Matthew Sneck, 24, was riding a 2002 Kawasaki ZX-12 motorcycle south on Olivia Parkway around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday when he hit a curb, lost control of the motorcycle and struck a palm tree, Henderson police said.
Sneck was taken to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, where he died. Police said he was traveling at a high rate of speed and believe that was a factor in the crash.
He was in the Nevada Army National Guard’s 1st Squadron, 221st Cavalry and served as a signal support system specialist for the communications section.
The squadron is leaving April 15 for training at Camp Atterbury, Ind., before deploying to Afghanistan. Squadron commander Lt. Col. Scott Cunningham called Sneck’s death a “very tough loss” and said the young man stood out among fellow soldiers of his age and rank.
“You could give him a basic set of instructions and through his own initiative, creativity and hard work, he would accomplish it,” he said. “He was working at a level of responsibility way beyond what other 24-year-olds ever experience.”
Sneck played football at University of Nevada, Reno, and Cunningham said he was always impressed by his determination as a walk-on player.
“He wasn’t afraid to get out there and he was signed on with the program,” he said. “He made it happen.”
Sneck enlisted in the Army National Guard in October 2002. His upcoming assignment in Afghanistan was to be his first overseas deployment.
“This isn’t just some normal guy that died in an accident — he was a stand-up guy,” Cunningham said. “Squadrons have several hundred people in them and, though you like to say every soldier is equal, some are going to stand out through their performance.
“His candle burned a little more brightly,” he said.
Contact reporter Maggie Lillis at mlillis@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0279.