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Motorcyclist Killed in Crash Helped Save Stranger's Life

Posted November 11, 2007

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— A Raleigh woman said that a motorcyclist, who was killed in an accident late Saturday, saved her life during a car crash four years ago.

Karl Edward Kost, 42, was riding his 2006 Harley Davidson from his home in Durham to Raleigh when he was involved in a head-on collision with a 1993 Porsche on Old Wake Forest Road. Kost was at fault for the crash, and the other driver was not seriously injured, police said.

"He woke up in the morning, rode his bike to work and rode home. And after he went home, he went riding," his friend Mike White said.

Kost did not survive, but he did help Sandra Parrish survive an accident in April 2003.

"He literally saved my life, and how blessed I am for him to have done that – for him to have been brought into my life at that time and for him to do what he did for me," Parrish said.

Parrish lost control of her van while driving on Highway 64 in Nash County and crashed into a guardrail. When she got out to look at her van, she was hit by a car that severed both of her legs.

Kost was among a group of strangers who stopped to help. Parrish was bleeding quickly, so he helped devise a tourniquet for her right leg.

"I want to let her know that there's a whole lot of people out there who went through the ringer to keep her alive. She'd better stay here," Kost said in an interview with WRAL in April 2003.

Parrish did, although she lost both legs. Kost kept on checking in with her, to see how she was doing every so often, she said.

"It was just unbelievable that somebody that I didn't know would do that for me, and then continue to stay in touch," Parrish said.  "It was an instant bond."

Friends said they deeply respected Kost for such acts of selflessness as rescuing Parrish.

"I admired him for that, for his bravery, for his courageousness in the time of someone else's need," his friend Tim Martin said. "Just wish somebody could've come to his rescue."

Kost, who worked in construction, left behind a 6-year-old son.

"For Karl to leave us, he was on his bike. And that's what he wanted to do," White said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • workalotchick Nov 12, 2007

    my heart goes out to karls family more so for his son we are going to miss you coming it to the exxon at 55 and 54 in durham,we enjoyed you standing around talking with us.may god bless you and your family.keep you wings high while riding.from all the employees at cruizers #16.

  • IfByWhiskey-a-go-go Nov 12, 2007

    wolfpacker- would you be so kind to post arrangements if/when you know them? I and a few other riders would like to pay our respects. Or if anybody else knows. It would be appreciated. Thanks.

  • wolfpacker93 Nov 12, 2007

    "Does anyone know if there is any bank or church taking up collections for his son, or family?"

    I am not aware of anything at this time. If anyone is interested in donating, I will make it happen. Just let me know.

  • Richie in Willow springs Nov 12, 2007

    "mgratk".. he stupidly chose to ride a motorcycle. The things are inherently dangerous............
    Everything on this planet is dangerous . this is a shame this happened . you can live your life in a safety bubble or you can enjoy your life how you to .
    tell me one thing in life that is not dangerous .

  • IfByWhiskey-a-go-go Nov 12, 2007

    "But anyway, he stupidly chose to ride a motorcycle. The things are inherently dangerous."

    Yes they are. As are many things in life. Riding a motorcycle is risky, but not "stupid". It is a risk/reward proposition. A wise rider will minimize the risk as much as possible. As would a parachuter. The feeling you get from riding a bike is like no other. It's not a 'rush' as much as it is sensory input, nothing compares. Sights...smells...Don't besmirch those that choose to ride as 'stupid'. They are just choosing to view the world from a different perspective, while at the same time acknowledging the risk in doing so.

  • mgratk Nov 12, 2007

    I recently lost a cousin to a motorcycle crash. Many years ago he played football for either UNC or State (I was very young at that time). He was a great guy, and loved by many. The funeral mass filled the church, and there were many people outside who couldn't get in.
    But anyway, he stupidly chose to ride a motorcycle. The things are inherently dangerous. He did nothing wrong, hit a bump the wrong way or something, but wasn't speeding. He had a helmet on, but the impact was too great and the helmet wasn't enough.

  • sjb2k1 Nov 12, 2007

    Very interesting story. Another way to save strangers' lives, and what I thought this would be about, is organ donation. You don't need your organs in death, so why not save a life? Or several? My parents both ride Harleys, and we are all organ donators. Recently a close friend of theirs was killed in a motorcycle accident (the other driver's fault) and his organs went to several different people. A small bright spot in a horrible tragedy.

  • JustCrazy2 Nov 12, 2007

    RIP, Mr.Kost. Praying for his family and friends.

  • IfByWhiskey-a-go-go Nov 12, 2007

    Will somebody please post the arrangements for Karl. I cannot find them, and would like to pay my respects.

  • wnithepooh Nov 12, 2007

    How blessed to know the day he died even strangers can say such wonderful things about him. He truly died a hero. He is someone I wish I could have called my friend. Many blessings to his friends and family. His family should tell his son of all the kindness his father shared with others. Often. His son will grow up being proud of his Dad, perhaps caring of others as much too.