KUSA - Richard Koester's daughter was about to reach a big milestone. On Oct. 11, he wished her a happy early 13th birthday and told her to stay awake until midnight so he could call back to celebrate.
That's the last thing he really remembers from before the crash. What he's heard through friends, family and officials is that he got into the passenger seat of his friend Ronald Lee Mohr's truck on a trip to Cripple Creek.
During the trip, his friend suffered a medical emergency. Their truck went through a median, ran off U.S. Highway 50 and into a 30-foot ravine about five miles west of Canon City.
Mohr died in the crash. Koester was trapped, entangled in the steering wheel on top of his friend.
"I tried to save him," Koester said. "It just wasn't happening."
With the truck not clearly visible from the highway, Koester was hidden from help in frigid conditions.
His family knew something was wrong right away. Koester was very family oriented and would never just disappear.
"I was driving up and down dirt roads looking for him," his sister Michealle Woolery said. "I knew I was going to find him."
All of his family came together for the search, staying in constant contact with police, making sure they knew his name.
For six days and six nights, Koester remained trapped in the truck with no food or water.
"I don't remember too much," he said. "I remember waking up thinking I was in a dream."
A CDOT worker finally spotted the truck while peering down a guardrail Oct. 17.
"He's got two birthdays every year in my book," his mother Barbara Dial said. "July 13 and Oct. 17." His whole family believes he is a true miracle.
Koester suffered serious injuries-he lost both of his legs -but remains positive.
"God has a plan for me," he said.
He looks forward to spending time with his two daughters and jokes about not having to buy shoes again. As he recovers in the hospital, his family is working to make his van wheelchair accessible.
A fund has been set up to help Koester convert his van:
Colorado Mountain Bank
P.O. Box 420 Westcliffe, CO
9NEWS photojournalist Chris Cheline has the story in the family's own words in the video above.
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