Estancia grad dies in accident

By Lindsay Sandham
Daily Pilot
August 29, 2005

A 2004 graduate of Estancia High School died early Sunday morning after a traffic accident in Arvada, Colo.

Brian “Bubba” Kapko, 19, was traveling to Denver with four other people after a volleyball tournament in Boulder. Kapko, a student at Johnson & Wales University in Denver, was the only person to die in the accident.

Kris Hartwell, also an Estancia High graduate, was in the vehicle with Kapko. 

Hartwell’s mother, Kathy Hartwell, said her son sustained a broken thumb.

According to Susan Medina, spokeswoman for the police department in Arvada — the Denver suburb where the accident took place — the accident occurred when police were chasing a stolen red Honda. When the Honda merged from one freeway onto another, it collided with two other vehicles — a Ford truck and the Toyota 4Runner that was carrying Kapko and his friends.

Medina said the men in the Honda — Matthew Wartena, 20, of Arvada, Colo., and a 16-year-old male — have been arrested on suspicion of vehicular homicide and numerous other charges.

Kapko, who was fondly referred to by friends and family as Bubba, was a well-known football player at Estancia.

“We’d just like to say we appreciate the outpouring of love and support from all of our friends,” said Kapko’s older brother, Matt Kapko. He said friends stopped by throughout the day to give their support to the family.

“I’ve never felt so bad in my whole life,” said Mike Cahill, one of Kapko’s friends. “He was not just my friend, he was part of my family.”

Cahill said everybody in Costa Mesa knew Kapko.

“He never seemed like he was in a bad mood,” Cahill said. “He was always a fun guy to be around.”

Kapko left for college at Johnson & Wales a couple of weeks ago.

Helen Ramsay of San Diego, a Kapko family friend, said she had known him since he was a baby. Ramsay drove up from San Diego to help the Kapko family and to be with them.

“He was loved by all,” Ramsay said. “He could always bring a smile to your face…. He was just an all-around great guy.”

She said the family is flying to Denver in the morning and has not yet made arrangements for a funeral.

Brian Bubba Kapko is survived by his parents, Rick and Nancy Kapko, and his older brothers, Matt and Adam Kapko.