Victim of crash in police chase a Calif. student

By Felisa Cardona
Denver Post Staff Writer
August 30, 2005

A California man who was a student at Johnson & Wales University in Denver was identified Monday as the person killed during a police chase that began in Arvada.

Brian “Bubba” Kapko, 19, of Costa Mesa was riding in a Toyota 4Runner on Sunday morning when it was struck by a stolen Honda.

The 4Runner was pushed over a median on Interstate 270 into oncoming traffic.
Kapko left home two weeks ago to attend college in Denver, according to his hometown newspaper, the Daily Pilot.

He was riding back to Denver from Boulder, where he had attended a volleyball tournament with four of his friends.

A man who first spotted and followed the stolen Honda was wounded by shotgun pellets fired from the Honda before the chase began.

Matthew Gene Wartena, 19, was arrested on suspicion of murder with extreme indifference to human life, attempted murder, eluding arrest and criminal trespass of an automobile. A 16-year-old boy who was with Wartena was booked on the same allegations.

Arvada police spokeswoman Susan Medina said investigators were not identifying who fired the shots or who was driving the Honda until a witness lineup can be conducted.

Wartena was arrested by Denver police in March on suspicion of aggravated vehicle theft. That charge was dismissed by prosecutors after Wartena pleaded guilty to a felony charge of forgery of a government-issued document July 28, court records show.

A sentencing hearing was scheduled for Sept. 8.

The Honda in Sunday’s chase was reported stolen out of Westminster, Medina said.

About 1 a.m. Sunday, a neighborhood resident noticed two men getting in and out of cars along a street in Arvada and decided to follow them because they looked suspicious.

The man was wounded by shotgun pellets after one of the men in the Honda started shooting at him in the 6700 block of Otis Street.

Police caught up with the Honda and chased it until the Honda collided with the 4Runner.

Kapko was killed, and two others inside the 4Runner were treated at Denver Health Medical Center. The 4Runner struck an oncoming Ford truck in the crash, but the two people in that truck were not injured.