Sister Discusses Drunk Driving Tragedy That Changed Her Life

By: Zachary Meseck

Sister discusses drunk driving tragedy that changed her life (Zachary Meseck photo)

NORWICH – As part of the Norwich Driver’s Education course offered through Norwich High School, Kelly Collins-Colosi shared the story of a drunk driving accident that claimed four lives, including her sister’s, 19 years ago, and why there is no excuse for drunk driving.

According to Norwich High School Counselor Kelly Collins-Colosi, her sister Emily died approximately 19 years ago on Nov. 11, 2000. Collins-Colosi said her sister was one of three young women from Norwich that were killed after accepting a ride from a college student who shortly after struck a tree near Colgate University.

She said Katie Almeter, Emily Col­lins, Rachel Nargiso, and Kevin King died due to the crash.

The driver Robert Koester survived, and Collins-Colosi said police discovered Koester had a blood alcohol content more than double the legal limit at the time of the accident. She said Koester crashed into a tree just a quarter-mile up the road after he picked them up.

“To put things in perspective for you, that’s like a drive from (The Norwich High School) to Midland Drive,” said Collins-Colosi. “Four people were killed in less than 30 seconds.”

She said at the time it was common practice for college students to get picked up at the bottom of the steep hill leading to the Colgate campus, so her sister likely didn’t think anything of Koester offering them a ride. She added that there were multiple people already in the vehicle, and that King was Koester’s best friend.

“Koester was removed from Colgate, and then he was charged and arrested,” said Collins-Colosi. “He was sentenced to one and a third to four years in jail, but only served two and a half.”

“I do believe he has to live with the decisions he made every day... It’s hell, to lose someone because of choices that they made.”

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