Colgate '04 dies in car accident

by Khalil Ayvar | 11/15/00 6:00am

Students at Colgate University are mourning one of their own, after a tragic drunken driving car accident on Saturday, Nov. 11, resulted in the deaths of four young people, including that of a first year student.

Colgate Campus Safety is investigating possible fraternity involvement in serving alcohol to underage students.

At 2 a.m. last Saturday, the car driven by an intoxicated Robert Koester '02 of Colgate University crashed in an accident resulting in four deaths and three injuries.

Katherine Almeter '04, Kevin King, Rachel Nargiso and Emily Collins lost their lives in the accident. The driver, Koester, Elke Wagle '04 and Chris Rea survived with various injuries.

According to a New York State Police press release, Koester, Rea and King were returning to the Colgate campus from downtown Hamilton, N.Y., when they stopped near the campus entrance to pick up the four female passengers who hitched a ride. Of the four, two were freshmen at Colgate University, the others freshmen at Hobart William Smith College in Geneva, New York.

The four freshmen women were 18-years-old. Koester, Rea and King were all 20.

According to the press release, the accident occurred when the driver lost control of the car and it struck a tree just off the roadway, spun and skidded into another tree where it came to rest.

The press release stated that seat belts were not used by any of the passengers. Three of the passengers were ejected from the vehicle on impact, and were killed immediately.

Koester was charged with Driving While Intoxicated and four counts of 2nd degree Vehicular Manslaughter, and is currently being held in the Madison County Jail in lieu of bail.

The New York State Police is investigating the whereabouts of the victims in the hours preceding the accident. The investigation and notifications were made difficult due to the lack of identification by several victims, or possession of fictitious identification by others, and the fact that several victims were not known by others in the vehicle.

Sarah Jarvis of Colgate Campus Safety told The Dartmouth that Campus Safety is initiating its own investigation of the allegations that a Colgate fraternity illegally served alcohol to the driver and his two friends, all age 20, and therefore legally underaged.

Of the survivors, Wagle is the only one still under hospital care, at the Albany Medical Center, being treated for multiple fractures.

Colgate students and faculty gathered in Memorial Chapel on Monday to reflect as a community on the tragedy. An on-campus memorial is being planned.