It was a deadly weekend on WNY roads for motorcyclists. Five people died in crashes. A North Tonawanda survivor from one of the accidents told YNN’s Nicki Mayo how how biker safety saved her life.
NORTH TONAWANDA, NY – “I wouldn’t have made it this long, I’m 48 year old. This I the first time anything’s ever happened to me,” said Paula Kobel from her ECMC hospital bed. The North Tonawanda woman is on the mends following the fatal motorcycle accident that claimed the life of her friend Wallace Kozakowski.
Paula was riding on Wally’s bike Saturday morning when it went off the road and struck utility pole on Sweeney Street.
“I have four broken ribs. They’re just snapped right in half,” said Kobel. The accident left Paula with a lacerated liver, cut and bruises on her arms, thighs and feet. She says her leather jacket and safety equipment kept her alive.
“My helmet was cracked open in the back. And I just had cervical fusion in October and in January. There’s nothing wrong with my neck. You know why? Because I had the proper fitting head gear,” Kobel added.
Paula is a survivor following a deadly weekend that claimed the lives of five motorcyclists in Elma, Colden, Yorkshire and East Otto.
Four of the operators killed over the weekend were over 50 years old including Paul's friend Wally.
“I’m going to miss him. And I’m sure everyone else that was hurt out there or killed this weekend will be missed too,” said Paula.
Sweeney Street’s Dave Egli has seen a lot of traffic accidents from his yard.
“Once and a while you get someone that’s speeding through here and they don’t make the turn and their not paying attention or whatever,” said Egli.
“Through the years we’ve had problems with people striking houses, trees and utility poles,” said North Tonawanda Police Chief Randy Szukala.
The investigation continues as to what caused Paula’s accident. For now she’s going to focus on recovering and mourning the loss of her biker buddy.
“I think he’d be proud of himself. You know Wally you do go for me. You saved me honey,” said Kobel.