Breckenridge 3-year-old dies a week after head-on car crash near Hoosier Pass |

Breckenridge 3-year-old dies a week after head-on car crash near Hoosier Pass

Three-year-old Elli Goodman stands next to her brother Ezra, 5. Elli died Tuesday, Nov. 16, a week after suffering several trauma-related injuries in a head-on car crash.
Stephanie Strauss/Courtesy photo

The Summit County community this week is mourning the death of 3-year-old Elli Goodman, who died at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora on Tuesday, Nov. 16, after suffering severe injuries in a head-on crash near Alma earlier this month.

“Elli was something special,” family friend Stephanie Strauss said. “She had just this beautiful smile, beautiful eyes and just the kindest spirit.”

On Nov. 9, Michelle Goodman was driving her three children from Colorado Springs to meet their father, Matt Gales, at their new home in Breckenridge. Strauss said the family moved from the Orlando, Florida, area earlier this year, and Gales began working for her about a month ago at her business, All Flooring Design.

On their way up to Summit County, a vehicle traveling south on Colorado Highway 9 crossed into the northbound lane and collided head-on with the Goodmans’ car, according to an incident report by Colorado State Patrol. Elli was flown to a Children’s Hospital campus in Aurora with severe brain and spine injuries. Strauss said doctors continued to treat Elli over the past week, but she ultimately succumbed to her injuries. Strauss said both parents were with Elli when she died.

The two other children in the car received less serious injuries. Ten-month-old Talia Goodman was taken to St. Anthony Summit Hospital in Frisco and was released later that night. Five-year-old Ezra Goodman was flown to a Children’s Hospital campus in Colorado Springs, and Strauss said he was released the next day with scratches and bruises.

Strauss said Michelle Goodman is still hospitalized at University of Colorado Hospital. She’s already had major leg surgery, and she’s also suffering from a lower back injury. Strauss said Michelle Goodman is still unable to walk and that she will require considerable physical therapy before she is able to. With rehab, she is eventually expected to make a full recovery.

The two men who were in the other car in the crash were transported to St. Anthony Summit Hospital, according to Colorado State Patrol. Hospital spokesperson Brent Boyer confirmed Wednesday, Nov. 17, that both men have since been discharged. State Patrol hasn’t provided an update on the status of the investigation.

Strauss said the family will fly to Florida for Elli’s funeral this weekend, and she said Michelle Goodman would likely stay there to continue recovering.

Strauss said that while she hasn’t know the family for too long, Elli made an immediate impact.

“As I was interviewing Matt, she and my two kids were borrowing all these different colored highlighters from my office manger’s desk and decorating the refrigerator in my warehouse with all of these drawings and pictures for my two employees who were not actually at the warehouse that day,” Strauss said. “… Elli didn’t even know me, my kids or my employees, and she was just asking my 6-year-old daughter how to spell the names of the other two employees so that she could leave notes for them, drawing flowers and butterflies. She’s just this sweet, outgoing — she was just wonderful.”

Strauss has set up a GoFundMe fundraiser called Gales Goodman Family Support to help the family with funeral and medical expenses, including a special flight for Michelle Goodman to get to Florida that Strauss said would likely cost about $18,000.

“(Matt and Michelle) really appreciate the outpouring of support from the community with them being new and not knowing many people up here and not having family in the area,” Strauss said. “It’s just been amazing, the amount of support coming from the community. It makes me really happy and proud to live up here, and I know they’re just so touched by it.”

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