Crash Survivor Meets Rescuer

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The remarkable story of a man who survived a crash and was trapped in a truck for six days continues. 11 News was there for the man's reunion with the woman who saw the truck down an embankment and called for help.

It started with a tearful hug at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs more than month after Christine Genger first met Richard Koester.

The first time they met, Koester was trapped inside a truck for six days after it crashed in October off of Highway 50 near Canon City.

Genger works with the Colorado Department of Transportation and told us she was with State Patrol working on a project when troopers got a call to go check out a possible crash. Driving to near the area, Genger said the trooper didn't initially see the truck.

"(The trooper) actually drove by it, that's how obscure the site was," Genger told us.

So obscure, it was almost a week before someone even reported the accident. We don't know called it in, but the truck went head first down an embankment. Genger was the first person to see Koester.

"I just reached through the windshield and asked him could I hold his hand, I asked him his name and I told him my name told him that we called for rescue and that I would stay with him until rescue came," Genger said.

Koester doesn't remember much of the crash, but says somehow, on some level, he knew he was being helped.

"That eased my soul and my body to know that there's a chance that I'm going to get out of this truck," Koester said.

He had extensive frostbite. He lost a couple of fingers and both legs had to be amputated just below the knee, but he remains grateful for what he calls a second chance.

If you’d like to help:

Richard Koester
Colorado Mountain Bank
P.O. Box 420
Westcliffe, CO 81252
(719) 783-9211
Previous Coverage:

This is an incredible story of a local man who survived six days trapped in a truck after it crashed. The accident happened on October 11th off Highway 50 near Cañon City.

Richard Koester had extensive frostbite and was forced to have both his legs amputated just below the knee and two of his fingers taken from his right hand. He told 11 News it's partly his positive outlook that keeps him going, but he and his family still need a lot of help.

Koester has been in a hospital bed at Memorial in Colorado Springs for more than a month. He told us he remembers very little of the crash.

"You were trapped in (the truck), you were stuck in there, smashed in there for six days?"


“How long did that feel like to you, do you have any sort of time or sense of time?"

"Maybe an hour.”

Koester was the passenger in that crash. He didn't realize the driver, his life-long friend, was dead.

"That was very, very, very hard to know that he died," Koester said.

He told us his wife left him four months before the crash. He feels he's been given a second chance with her and their two kids, one he plans to take advantage of.

"My wife is coming back to me, hopefully forever, my whole attitude has changed so I can be a better person," Koester said.

A fund has been set up at the Colorado Mountain Bank in Westcliffe to help out Koester and his family. He doesn't have health insurance. He now also needs to modify his van to make it wheelchair accessible and drivable by hand.

We also talked to Koester’s attorney Mike McDivitt, who said they're going to do what they can to help Koester and his family.

If you’d like to help:

Richard Koester
Colorado Mountain Bank
P.O. Box 420
Westcliffe, CO 81252
(719) 783-9211

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