63 Diner Raises Funds for Former Waitress, Crash Victim

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COLUMBIA - A local Columbia diner is coming together to honor one of its own and raise money for her family. 

Heather Cole, 20, died in a car accident early Friday morning. Missouri Highway Patrol reports say Cole was driving eastbound on Interstate 70 about ten miles west of Boonville when she drove off the left side of the road, across the median and into oncoming traffic. That's when a tractor-trailer hit her car. Cole was pronounced dead on the scene. Her passenger, 20-year-old Sara Buxton, was airlifted to University Hospital where officials say she remains in critical condition. 

Cole began working at The 63 Diner when she was 16. She graduated from Hickman High School in 2011. In her memory, her co-workers are serving her favorite dish, macaroni and cheese with hot dogs and two slices of homemade grilled cornbread, as a special to raise money for her family. Two-dollars from every $5.99 plate will go to Cole's family. 

"She is one of our own," 63 Diner waitress Nicole Creason said. "We are just a small business. We are a diner family and we are going to do whatever we can to support our family." 

Creason hopes Cole will be remembered for her generous personality. 

"[Cole was] an all around great person," Creason said. "She would do anything for you, even if she didn't know you. She would probably take the shirt off of her back for you if you needed it, if you asked for it. She is a very good person. She would do anything for anybody." 

The benefit runs Sunday from 6:30 a.m. until 2 p.m at The 63 Diner located in Columbia at 5801 Highway 763 North. The Diner is also selling chocolate-filled mugs for $7.25, with $5.00 going to Cole's family.