Archive for Friday, December 9, 2005

Lawrence paramedic killed in wreck

Ambulance crew members at scene of accident included roommate

December 9, 2005


When a Shawnee County ambulance crew responded to a fatal wreck Monday night east of Topeka, the last thing they expected to find was the body of a co-worker.

Paramedic Ryan Ostendorf had left his home in Lawrence and was driving to Topeka when he was killed in a head-on collision. The accident occurred about 8:20 p.m. on U.S. Highway 40 near Shawnee Heights Road.

Ostendorf had worked at American Medical Response ambulance service for five years. That night he would have started his shift at 9 p.m.

"We see this kind of thing all the time," said Capt. Steve Guyle, field supervisor with the ambulance service. "But when it strikes someone you know and work with, it strikes too close to home."

Ostendorf, 28, was working part-time at American Medical Response while attending Kansas University, where he was a senior majoring in biology. He wanted to go on to medical school and become a physician, Guyle said.

Ostendorf had a bright future, Guyle said.

"He was an outstanding paramedic who had the trust and confidence of the local physicians and the trust and confidence of the management staff and employees," he said. "He was an extraordinary individual."

Ryan Ostendorf

Ryan Ostendorf

According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, Ostendorf was driving a Jeep Cherokee west on U.S. 40 when he was struck head-on by a Cadillac Escalade traveling east in the westbound lane. The driver, Victor Antua, 28, thought to be from Topeka, and two passengers were injured. He was taken to St. Francis Via Christi hospital in Wichita. His condition was not known Thursday.

Troopers continue to investigate the accident, including whether alcohol was a contributing factor, KHP spokesman Lt. John Eichkorn said. When the investigation is complete, a report will be sent to the Shawnee County District Attorney for review, he said.

Ambulance crew members responding to the accident included emergency medical technician Mike Cox, Ostendorf's roommate, Guyle said. Cox has received some time off and other assistance, Guyle said.

The accident also devastated other crew members and shocked others who knew Ostendorf, including many with fire and law enforcement agencies as well as medical personnel at Topeka hospitals, Guyle said.

"We're kind of the thread that interweaves through all these agencies and you get sort of attached," he said. "He touched so many lives. He will be greatly missed."

Ambulance service employees and Ostendorf's family in Nebraska are receiving counseling and other assistance.

Funeral services will be Saturday in Gothenburg, Neb. American Medical Response plans to send a caravan of ambulances and several employees. Other agencies also may send representatives. A memorial service will be at 2:45 p.m. Monday in Grace Cathedral at Eighth and Polk streets in Topeka, Guyle said.


Steve Jacob 12 years, 6 months ago

Cadillac Escalades are safe for the people who drive them, but a danger to everyone else.

sweatpeagj 12 years, 6 months ago

I agree with e_m the mentality of those driving larger vehicles is just that. It's bigger and heavier so i don't have to be concerned as much about driving conditions.

secretresistance 12 years, 6 months ago

I don't think it's as much about the attitude of the driver, as the sheer bulk of such a massive vehicle. If the bumper of an Escalade is at the level of my HEAD during a collision, who do you think is going to come out on top? Consider the mechanical aspects, people.

badger 12 years, 6 months ago

I can only imagine how heart-wrenching it must be to respond to a fatality accident and see a familiar face.

My heart and condolences go out to the family and friends. It's a tragedy when anyone is killed in a vehicle accident, and especially so if it was someone dedicated to helping others and saving lives.

sd123 12 years, 6 months ago

wow. God bless Ryan, his family, friends and everyone else who is forced to deal with Ryans death. (tears)

Bubarubu 12 years, 6 months ago

My condolences to the Ostendorf family. I would encourage everyone to take a look at the National EMS Memorial Service. The NEMSMS is a memorial to paramedics, Lifeflight pilots, ambulance drivers, and other emergency medical response personnel who are killed in the line of duty, in the same way police and firefighter memorials commemorate brave women and men.

lv2ride 12 years, 6 months ago

My heart and prayers go out to Ryan, his family and his friends!!

I totally agree with smitty!!! Some of the posters in these forums are really quick to point fingers...sometimes there are such things as accidents. Even if the Escalade was in the wrong lane, there could have been circumstances other than irresponsibility or "false sense of security" that caused the vehicle to stray.

I have been both unfortunate and fortunate.

unfortunately I have been in three rollover accidents. 2 of them due to diabetes related issues and 1 due to black ice. none of them because of irresponsibility or because I felt more secure in my Truck than I would have in a car or any other vehicle. Some may say that I shouldn't drive if I "may" have issues with my doesn't stop because you have an illness, and (if you are knowledgable about diabetes you would know)most issues with diabetes are not easy to prevent or detect.

Fortunate that I made it out of all three with my life. I was life flighted from one of them and hurt pretty bad in the other two. But I am lucky to say that I am walking and breathing after alot of recovery. AND no one else was involved in any of my accidents by shear luck!! Thank God for that!!

I can sympathize, to an extent, with the workers who worked Ryan's accident and have to deal with a dear friend being involved. In my life flight accident two men who worked the scene of my accident were dear friends of my family (one a copy and one a firefigher) and at the time I was so hurt that they didn't recognize me until finding my ID in the road. It was very hard on them. And, if I had been about a mile further down the road, my father (a volunteer township firefighter at the time) would have been called to the scene.

So coming from one who has been through simular hard times (not by any means intending to minimize the hurt Ryan's family and friends are faced with)PLEASE have a little bit, no A LOT of compassion and don't be quick to form your own story of what happened and why it happened. Because there is always a reason things happen, and they are not always irresponsible or bad, and that is why we have investigators.

Thank you for letting me post my thoughts!

Again, my thoughts a prayers are with Ryan, his family and his friends!! God bless!

lv2ride 12 years, 6 months ago

One more thing. I also agree with Bubarubu, if you are in the position to contribute, please do. These wonderful, kind people donate to us everyday by doing eveything possible to save lives.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 12 years, 6 months ago

How sad that a promising young man such as this, who dedicated his life to helping others, should die because of something like this. Highway 40 is a death trap, I used to drive it every day back and forth to work in Topeka. That was many years ago, it is even worse now because of the dump trucks from the quarry at Big Springs. They drive like maniacs. The troopers almost never patrol it because there is no place to safely pull anyone over. They need to be out there ticketing those dump trucks, and other left of center or speeding drivers. Several times the dump trucks were across the yellow line and almost drove me off in the ditch. I never drive on it anymore. It is an unsafe, winding, hilly road with no shoulders, and even the highway patrol stays off of it unless they get a call to investigate an accident. If they had been out there writing tickets, running radar, stopping the left of center drivers and dump trucks, this young man might be alive. And someday he would have been a great physician. The deaths on this highway, and there are several a year it seems, are primarily the fault of the design of the highway. More selective enforcement and aircraft enforcement of this death trap would surely help, however. Thank you, Lynn

grantsmom 12 years, 6 months ago

I had the chance to meet this amazing young man on several occasions. My sister worked with him on numerous shifts and I would stop by and say Hi every once in awhile. Ryan was a quiet, yet very friendly man. He will truly be missed! God Bless you Ryan. You lived your life helping others and for that we can't thank you enough! You will be missed by so many! Your family,friends and co-workers at AMR are in my thoughts and prayers. Michelle

emt4you 12 years, 6 months ago

I would like to thank everyone for their support through this horrible tragedy that we all have been going through here at our AMR family. Ryan was such a bright spot for everyone and always knew how to cheer someone up after everything else had fallen apart. He was very passionate about his job as a paramedic and was even more passionate about becoming a cardiologist in the near future. He will forever be a cardiologist to all of his family here at AMR, he who broke our hearts in his passing but made our hearts so much stronger for being Ryan and leaving us with the his memory. Forever our paramedic and MD, RIP Ryan!!

jacksons61904 12 years, 6 months ago

I only got to met Ryan a couple times when i would go meet my sister at headquarters. Ryan seemed like a very outgoing and wonderful person. He saved so many lives and helped so many people he will never be forgotten for that. He has touched so many lives. I want to send my thoughts and prayer to all of his co-workers and to all of his family. Your son,friend will never be forgotten. When times get hard just try your best to remember all those great times you did have with him in his wonderful life. To the AMR crew remember when times get hard that he is one of your angels watching over you and hes watching every call that you go on and its him who is keeping you safe.

redrebel821 12 years, 6 months ago

Ryan, we miss ya, kiddo. I already miss not having to wake you up to relieve you so you can get to class on time! Thanks for everything, but most of all, thanks for being my friend. You've made me a better person, and a better paramedic. I hope you carry the love we all had for you with you. Love always...Jo

TSliger1 12 years, 6 months ago

My nephew was not killed by an Escalade, nor was it God who called for him, it was the impaired driver that choose to take a son, grandson, nephew, brother, uncle, cousin and beloved friends. Ryan was destined to do great things, he was a strong advocate for the suffering, he was a warrior for the medical profession. It saddens me and my family that his brilliant life was cut so short. He so wanted to be a heart specialist, and now I ponder how my heart, his mother & fathers, grandmothers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles & friends can be healed in that long but brief amount of time yet enduring that this life was taken from us. God bless JoAnn and her family, he was surely a blessing to all who had the pleasure to have crossed his path. Thank you to his fellow colleages, his mentors, his friends, and AMR, for watching over our Ryan, he respected you so much. Thank You for your love and support.

Terry Sliger and Family Angels on your pillow Ryan

folgersfreak 12 years, 6 months ago

We would like to thank the A.M.R., the Honor Guard, The Pall Bearers, and the many paramedics who traveled so very far to honor our Ryan. It was evident to us that Ryan had a family in Kansas and touched your hearts as deeply as ours. "We", Ryans', "maternal", family are so very grateful for the outpouring of kindness you have shown us, the respect at his service and the service you have planned for him in Topeka. We wish we could attend, due to circumstances beyond our control, we are unable to attend. At 2:45p.m., 12/12/2005, we will hear the, "unanswered call". A special prayer to Megan Kennedy and her parents and Mike Cox. Your indescribable pain is shared. Aunt Pam,Uncle Scott, Kerri, Scott II,Aunt Reva, Uncle Craig, Aubrey, Allen, Grandma Pauline, Uncle Tom, Scott, Beth, Uncle Lee, Aunt Karen, Alisha, Nichole, Jordan, Aunt Terry, Jenna, Wesley & Bryan. We were very proud of you Ryan and you will be missed more than we can express. TO THE MOON AND BACK BABY BOY!!!

paramedic135 12 years, 6 months ago

Of my firend I say this; he will be deeply missed by all those that he touched. Of all the paramedics I have met in my career, few have been as intelligent and caring as Ryan. May we all strive to be like him Take care of yourself my friend.

lv2ride 12 years, 6 months ago

I am sitting at my desk right now and I wittnessed the caravan of ambulances, fire staff, police...etc. I believe there were at least 12 ambulances and many other medical staff vehicles that attended Ryan's funeral service today, (December 12, 2005). I didn't have the fortunate chance to know you, but I do know one thing!!! You WILL be DEEPLY missed!! God speed Ryan!!!

lbaez 12 years, 6 months ago

I was fortunate enough to work with Ryan @ AMR and I drove in the procession for Ryan's Memorial Services. AMR truck 209 reporting. I had the pleasure of working with Ryan for the past two years. Ryan was a trainer, a mentor and my friend. Meeting his family I know will allow closure in my heart because I too was unable to make the trek to Nebraska for Ryan's funeral. My duty called on Dec. 10 so I stayed.

Their are so many words that could be expressed in Ryan's honor. I am just thankful that I was able to visit with Ryan on the eve of December 4. Now all things must change. We were an extrodinary pair on the streets of Topeka. I think he enjoyed his shifts just as much as I did. We called them our "therapeutic sessions."

I miss you Ryan, my brother and friend. You will always be held with high honors in my heart. You gave me the courage to move forth in my career and come Jan 06 I will begin my journey to becoming a medic just as you.

Love always, your friend and co-worker.

AMR 209 - (Lydia B.) E.O.S. => End of Shift......

twohats 12 years, 6 months ago

Topeka Capitol Journal 12/14/2005 Pg 10A

"A Topeka man was arrested Tuesday morning in connection with the Dec. 5 traffic death of a paramedic who was killed on US-40 highway near S.E. Green Road.

Victor Anzua-Torrez, 28, 1291 S.W. Mulvane, was booked into the Shawnee County Jail at 11:33 a.m. in connection with Second-Degree Murder in the death of Ryan P. Ostendorf, 28, of Lawrence, according to Jail records. Anzua-Torrez also was booked in connection with transporting an open container, driving with no license, Topeka Municipal Court bench warrants and a hold for another Kansas county, jail records show.

No bond had been set for the murder charge and traffic violations. Bond for the bench warrants was $330 and bond for the Kansas County hold was $1,500.

A sport utility vehicle driven by Anzua-Torrez was traveling east in the westbound lane on US-40 when it and Ostendorf's Jeep Cherokee collided head on, the Kansas Highway Patrol reported. Anzua-Torrez and his two passengers were injured in the crash."

hottie123 12 years, 6 months ago

so to all of you that said it wasnt the other drives fault do you have anything else to say now that the drive was arrested with an OPEN container. Who is at fault now. It sure wasnt the vehicle like everyone was saying its was the driver. RIP RYAN justice will be served

lv2ride 12 years, 6 months ago

Like I said earlier...

"sometimes there are such things as accidents. Even if the Escalade was in the wrong lane, there could have been circumstances other than irresponsibility or "false sense of security" that caused the vehicle to stray."

...BUT I failed to mention those certain accidents caused by STUPIDITY like Drunk Driving!!! That is no accident, it is just plain stupid and irresponsible!!! It had nothing to do with it being an Escalade just a stupid operator...

Mr. --no he doesn't even deserve to be called Mr. -- Victor Anzua-Torrez needs to rot in prison!!! Enjoy bubba!

Ryan you are in a wonderful place now and nobody can ever hurt you again!! Live a wonderful eternal life!!

themama 12 years, 5 months ago

Thank you to everyone that has posted something here. To those of you that knew Ryan, your stories touch my heart! He was very lucky to have had you as family, friends and collegues. The Escalade was not at fault here the driver, the owner of the car, and ignorance was. Thank you to AMR and pastor Pete for the beautiful memorial service! No one could have honored him more. Thank you to everyone that shared a story about Ryan with me. Ryan was the light of my life and I do not know how I will go on without him. He was my guide to fun and new adventures. Alway keep his memory close and when the sun shines on your life know that he is watching and smiling down on you! mama

hottie123 12 years, 4 months ago

Suspect held for trial

US-40 highway crash in December left AMR worker dead

A D V E R T I S E M E N T By Steve Fry The Capital-Journal A Topeka man on Tuesday was bound over for trial on a charge of reckless second-degree murder for a fatal Dec. 5 crash in which Ryan P. Ostendorf, 28, of Lawrence, was killed.

Victor Anzua-Torres, 28, also was bound over on a felony charge of aggravated battery in connection with injuries suffered by passenger Jose Martinez, 28, also of Topeka. He also will face misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving without a license and driving on the left side of the roadway.

Anzua-Torres, who suffered a hip injury in the wreck and must use a wheelchair, pleaded not guilty to the five charges. He remains in the Shawnee County District Jail in lieu of a $1 million bond.

Martinez testified Tuesday during a preliminary hearing in Shawnee County District Court that he begged Anzua-Torres to stop the speeding vehicle, a black 1999 Cadillac Escalade, and quit driving in the oncoming lane.

To protect himself, Martinez said, he threw a blanket in front of his face just before the Escalade and Ostendorf's Jeep Cherokee crashed head-on.

Martinez testified that Anzua-Torres and his girlfriend, Dianna Quesada, 41, Topeka, drank four beers at Martinez's home on Dec. 5 when they stopped by to buy three tires for the SUV. After getting the tires mounted, Anzua-Torres bought a 12-pack of beer and a bottle of liquor at an East Topeka liquor store.

Concerned because Anzua-Torres was drinking and driving, Martinez said, he suggested the three visit a friend's home near US-40 highway. After that visit, Martinez said, he started to drive back to Topeka but Anzua-Torres a short time later insisted on taking the wheel.

Martinez said Anzua-Torres drove into the wrong lane and at one point drove in a circle three times in the road and ended up driving eastbound on US-40. He testified Anzua-Torres began driving faster and faster and passed at least three vehicles before approaching an oncoming Jeep.

"He could have gotten over if he had wanted to," said Martinez, who also said he pleaded with Anzua-Torres to stop. Martinez was hospitalized several days with broken ribs, a punctured lung, injuries to the neck and lower back, and a dislocated hip.

Quesada, owner of the Escalade, is cited in connection with allowing an unauthorized person to drive and failure to use a seat belt, according to Shawnee County District Court records.

Anzua-Torres, who was convicted Dec. 21, 2001, of an earlier DUI, is to be tried starting April 24.

Among the spectators in court Tuesday were 11 paramedics from American Medical Response, where Ostendorf worked.

"He was a close friend and a great person," said AMR paramedic Jason Belanger.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.