DENVER (CBS4) – More than a month later, a man who was stranded for nearly a week after a car crash is still in the hospital and recovering from having both legs amputated.
Rick Koester was the passenger in a truck that crashed down a 30-foot embankment while driving on Highway 50 near Canon City on Oct. 11.
The driver, his friend Ronald Lee Mohr, died in the accident.
For six days Koester was pinned as he lay on top of Mohr.
“I remember waking up after the truck was already wrecked. Waking up four to five times thinking I was in a dream. In my mind I was thinking, ‘Why can’t I move,’ ” said Koester.
Koester had no food or water and temperatures dipped close to freezing.
“I didn’t have a coat or gloves. God, it was a miracle. God made me survive,” said Koester
Koester was found by Colorado Department of Transportation workers who were repairing a fence.
After being rescued and taken to the hospital, doctors said his body temperature was only 79 degrees.
Surgeons had to amputate both legs below the knee. He lost fingers and pints of blood, and was near death as his family arrived from out of state.
“The doctors kept telling me he probably won’t make it. It’s not that he might not make it, he probably won’t make it. So I went by and didn’t leave his side,” said his mother Barbara Dial.
Koester’s mother had to tell him what happened when he woke up. He doesn’t remember the crash.
“Nobody can prepare a mother to see their son like that,” said Dial.
He told his daughter what happened over the phone.
“She’s been taking a tape measure to her own leg to see just how far up they cut my legs off,” said Koester.
Doctors told Koester he will need months to fully recover and then more time after to be fitted for prosthetics.
Koester plans to walk again. His family believes he still has a full life ahead of him.
“This is our second chance with him. I don’t know what he’s meant to do but it’s going to be spectacular,” said Dial.
Koester hopes to move home with family when he is well enough to leave.
Both workers who found Koester were honored last month by Colorado’s Transportation Commission.