November 15, 2000

Colgate Car Accident Impacts Community

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Chapel bells tolled at Colgate University yesterday at 1:00 p.m., and a moment of silence was observed for freshman Katherine Almeter of Norwich, N.Y..

Almeter died in a car accident at approximately 2 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 11, on the Colgate campus. New York State Police have stated that the accident was alcohol related.

The accident also took the lives of Kevin King of Troy, N.Y. and Rachel Nargiso and Emily Collins, of Norwich. Nargisco and Collins were freshmen at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N.Y., and had been visiting Almeter for the weekend.

The sounding of the chapel bells marked the beginning of Almeter’s funeral at St. Paul’s Church in Norwich, according to Sarah Jarvis, director of media relations at Colgate University.

Colgate students Robert Koester, Elke Wagle and Chris Rea were injured in the accident.

Students, faculty and staff met at Colgate’s Memorial Chapel at 11:30 a.m. Saturday to learn of the morning’s tragedy. On Monday, the community again gathered at the chapel to reflect upon the accident.

“This kind of accident happens all the time, but you never really appreciate the seriousness of it until it happens to you or someone you know. Colgate is a small campus community where everyone feels a special bond with each other and with the school itself,” said Stephen Marsi, editor in chief of The Colgate Maroon. “At a place like this, the situation is particularly upsetting, whether you knew Katie personally or not. The whole situation is incredibly tragic.”

Amber Burleson ’04, an acquaintaince of Almeter, is also shocked. “Katie was a wonderful, sensible person. She was at the top of her class,” Burleson said.

“Counselors from the University’s psychological services have been working around the clock since Sunday to talk with students,” Jarvis said.

“We are also providing campus-wide counseling services for all students,” Jarvis added. Counselors will be at Colgate’s chapel to talk to students all week.

Colgate is planning a memorial service for this week.

“The university is investigating the accident because of the alleged report of underage drinking at an off-campus residence [the night of the accident],” Jarvis said.

College officials have begun an investigation into the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity after alleged reports that Koester, the driver of the Jeep and member of the fraternity had spent hours drinking there with two friends, according to the Associated Press.

The police are also investigating the accident. Yesterday Koesler’s charges were upgraded from four counts of criminally negligent homicide to four additional counts of second-degree vehicular manslaughter, according to the Associated Press.

Koester is also charged with driving while intoxicated. He faces a 15-year maximum jail sentence for the second-degree manslaughter charges and he faces a four-year sentence for criminally negligent homicide.

Archived article by Jamie Yonks