Denver law enforcement authorities are investigating the crash of school bus Sunday that killed the bus driver and injured at least 18 others, mostly members of a Denver, Colo., area high school football team.
Police said they don’t know why the school bus suddenly circled around near Denver International Airport just after 4 p.m. and collided with a concrete pillar.
The bus driver, Kari Chopper, 43, had just picked up 28 members of the Broomfield, Colo., Legacy High School football team and four adults. The driver then abruptly circled the bus back around toward the airport for unknown reasons, ran off the right side of the road and drove into the pillar.
The bus was one of three outbound buses carrying Legacy High School students. The other bus drivers told police that the bus’s sudden turnaround “was quite curious to them” and they didn’t witness anything they may have forced the bus to turn around and drive off the road, the Denver Post reported.
The Denver Post reported that Ms. Chopper, a mother of four, had the required medical exams and tests required for her job. She had no health problems and showed no signs of a medical issue in the hours before the crash, her husband told the Denver Post. Responders pronounced her dead at the scene.
At least 18 of the passengers involved in the bus crash were taken to local hospitals. Denver Health told KDVR-TV that it had five of the bus passengers. Two were in critical condition, two were in serious condition, and one was in fair condition.
Children’s Hospital Colorado and Medical Center of Aurora also reported having patients from the crash.
“Police said there is no indication the crash was intentional — though they have not ruled it out — and that the bus is being inspected to determine whether there were mechanical issues,” the Denver Post reported. Investigators are also looking into whether Ms. Chopper had a medical condition that may have gone unnoticed on her physical exam.
Denver Police Department Sgt. Mike Farr, a traffic investigations unit supervisor, told the press that that the crash remains “a big mystery.”
“… We might not get all of the answers we are looking for simply because one of our most important witnesses (is dead).”