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Police: Deadly Bus Crash At DIA Is A Mystery

DENVER (CBS4)- Traffic investigators with the Denver Police Department know how the deadly school bus crash occurred at Denver International Airport on Sunday but still don't know why.

(credit: CBS)

The bus driver was killed and 15 students were injured about 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Three coaches on board were seriously injured and remained hospitalized Monday afternoon.

Three busloads of football players and coaches from Legacy High School were heading home to Broomfield from DIA after a football game in California when the crash occurred. The bus that crashed was the lead bus.

The coaches have been identified as Wayne Voorhees, Matt Kroupa and Kyle Rider. The driver's name was Kari Chopper.

Kari Chopper
Kari Chopper (credit: Chopper Family)

Chopper was an employee of Adams 12 Five Star Schools.

There were 31 passengers on board and for unknown reasons, Chopper made a second lap back towards arrivals on the East side of the airport instead of leaving Pena Boulevard to take E-470 to the school.

Chopper took the return to terminal loop and instead of making a final turn. She drove straight into the pillar that supports the Level 6 ramp.

Kari Chopper (credit: John Chopper)

"In the dirt, the tire tracks did not show any right or left turns," said Denver Police Department Traffic Investigator Sgt. Mike Farr.

(credit: CBS)

Farr said the crash damage to the front of the bus was significant. Investigators will take a closer look at the speed of the bus on that turn. It is estimated that the bus was traveling 30-40 mph on the turn.

LINK: Kari Chopper GoFundMe page

It is unclear why the driver took the return to terminal loop.

DIA Bus Crash
(credit: Denver Police Department)

"There were a lot of guesses but nobody could tell me for certain why the bus driver made that turn," said Farr.

Counselors were at the school to help students cope with the crash.

(credit: CBS)

"I still can't believe it, you know? It's such a tragic event that happened," said Legacy High School student Kevin Segura. "He saw the bus driver pass and he's just really traumatized right now and that's not something you want to hear."

"The school is operating as normal as it could be, under the circumstances. It is homecoming week so they're doing their best to still enjoy the week. There may be some changes to that but otherwise they are operating as normal," said Adams 12 Communications Specialist Mark Poshak.

The football team will meet at 3:15 p.m. Monday but practice for the team has been canceled.

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