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Estancia grad dies in accident

August 29, 2005|By: Lindsay Sandham

A 2003 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

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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.

* LINDSAY SANDHAM is the news assistant. She can be reached at

(714) 966-4625 or lindsay.sandham@latimes.com.

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