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Former Kenai city manager dies in motorcycle crash

  • Author: Chris Klint
  • Updated: June 19, 2017
  • Published June 19, 2017

A former city manager of Kenai died after a motorcycle crash north of Fairbanks, Alaska State Troopers said.

Troopers received a report just before noon Sunday of the single-vehicle wreck that fatally injured 60-year-old Rick Koch, according to an online dispatch. The call came from a home in Livengood, on the Dalton Highway about 50 miles northwest of Fairbanks.

"(Koch) had been riding with several friends in the vicinity of Mile 39 of the Dalton Highway when his motorcycle went off the road," troopers wrote. "Koch's associates drove him to Livengood, where they were able to contact a resident with a phone."

Koch wasn't wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, troopers said. He received CPR at the scene and a medical evacuation aircraft was sent from Fairbanks, but medics pronounced him dead when they arrived.

Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters didn't have any further detail from investigators Monday on why Koch's motorcycle left the highway. She said his body would undergo an autopsy.

Koch was Kenai's city manager until last year, when he ran as a Republican for a state House seat covering Kenai and Soldotna. He was defeated in a four-way GOP primary, however, coming in second to eventual general-election victor Gary Knopp.

City of Kenai officials said in a statement that Koch had served as city manager for a decade until he retired in December to spend more time with family. Koch was credited with overseeing improvements to the local water system, library and municipal park, as well as turning around the Kenai Airport's finances and being the "architect" behind local oversight of the July dipnet fishery.

Former Kenai Mayor Pat Porter said Koch's public service reflected "his strong belief and dedication to the values of what America is all about."

"Our hearts go out to his son, Alex, and his family," Porter said. "He was Kenai's friend and we will all miss him."

Nathaniel Herz contributed information to this story.