Football Player Who Saw Bus Driver Die ‘Really Traumatized Right Now’

By Tom Mustin

BROOMFIELD, Colo. (CBS4) – Authorities continue to investigate a fatal school bus crash that occurred Sunday at Denver International Airport.

The school bus was full of coaches and athletes from Legacy High School’s football team.

“I’m sorry this happened. It’s horrible,” said student Joey Sauthern.

(credit: Denver Police Department)

(credit: Denver Police Department)

Heartbroken students returned to Broomfield’s Legacy High School Monday still stunned by the tragic bus accident.

“It’s really hard for all of us. All of your prayers are really thoughtful,” junior Ryan Denning told CBS4’s Tom Mustin.

Grief counselors were on hand to help students and faculty through the difficult homecoming week.

“School is operating as normal as can be under the circumstances,” said Adams12 spokesperson Mark Poshak.

Kari Chopper (credit: John Chopper)

Kari Chopper (credit: John Chopper)

Sunday afternoon the Legacy Varsity and JV football teams were leaving DIA on buses after returning from a Friday night game in California. Driver Kari Chopper somehow crashed into a concrete bridge in the passenger pick up area and was killed. Fifteen students were taken to the hospital.

Coaches Wayne Voorhees, Matt Kroupa and Kyle Rider suffered significant injuries, including broken bones, and fractured skulls.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS/Legacy High School/Facebook)

A “signature wall” inside Legacy High School that students and staff have signed for the coaches still in the hospital (Legacy High School/Tiwtter)

A “signature wall” inside Legacy High School that students and staff have signed for the coaches still in the hospital (Legacy High School/Tiwtter)

“I’m friends with them, have classes with most of them. It really affects us all,” student Ryan Crider told Mustin.

Every student is expected to be okay.

On Monday Crider tried to speak with his injured friends as they entered the school in neck braces.

untitled sequence6 03 Football Player Who Saw Bus Driver Die Really Traumatized Right Now

“A lot of them don’t want to talk about it. It’s so traumatic for them,” he said.

Junior Kevin Segura spoke to a close friend on the football team who was on the bus.

“He saw the bus driver pass and is really traumatized right now. That’s not something you want to hear,” Segura said.

dia school bus ax 1 Football Player Who Saw Bus Driver Die Really Traumatized Right Now

Monday afternoon’s football practice was canceled. Team members and coaches had a closed door meeting inside of the school.

As homecoming week moved forward, student John Toomey had a message for the family’s affected.

“You’re in our thoughts and prayers, definitely a rough thing to happen,” Toomey said.

Grief counselors a will be on hand all week to speak with students and faculty. As of now, Legacy’s homecoming football game against Prairie View is still scheduled for Friday night at 7 p.m.

Students from other schools, including Legacy High’s rival schools, Thornton High School and Horizon High School; and the Chino Hills High School in California send out well wishes to the students and staff at Legacy High to show support.

(credit: Horizon High School)

(credit: Horizon High School)

 

(credit: Thornton High School)

(credit: Thornton High School)

(credit: Chino Hills High School)

(credit: Chino Hills High School)

LINK: Kari Chopper GoFundMe page

Tom Mustin is CBS4’s Weekend Anchor. He has been with CBS4 since 2002, and is always looking for great story ideas. Connect with Tom on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @TomCBS4.

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