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Tuesday, January 15, 2013 1:00 PM

Chamber leader Coen 'happy to be alive' after wreck

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Staff Writer

John Coen, president and chief executive officer of the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce, is back home after being injured in a two-vehicle head-on collision on slippery roads Saturday night about seven miles south of Chanute on U.S. 169.

Coen was transported by ambulance to Neosho Memorial Regional Medical Center, Chanute, for treatment of a broken sternum.

Coen’s wife, Cherry, and son, Todd, also were in the vehicle. John Coen said his wife and son received bumps and bruises but were doing fine. Coen said he was released from the hospital about 2 p.m. Sunday.

“Todd [a senior at Kansas State University] was home on break, and we were on our way back from visiting my daughter, Chelsy, who lives in Sedan,” Coen said from his home about midday Tuesday. “There was some snow, but I didn’t think the road conditions were too bad. I was driving about 45 [mph].

“A person driving in the oncoming lane of traffic went into a complete spin and hit us head-on,” Coen said. “We were all fortunate. The Lord was watching out for us. We feel very blessed.”

Neosho County Sheriff’s officers responded to the wreck. A spokesman with the sheriff’s office said Tuesday afternoon the department had not completed its report on the case and she could not provide any details over the telephone.

Coen said his understanding was that the driver of the other passenger car, apparently the lone occupant, was not badly injured.

“I was told she refused treatment at the scene and was taken away in a private vehicle,” he said.

Coen said his wife, Cherry, a teacher at Ottawa High School, returned to work Tuesday.

But Coen said he was uncertain how soon he would be able to return to work. He was scheduled to see his doctor in Ottawa Tuesday afternoon.

“I was told by the doctor in Chanute that a sternum break just takes time to heal,” he said. “I’m pretty sore and banged up, but happy to be alive.”

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