Kari Chopper, 43, known for her cake-decorating skills and commitment to her children, began driving a bus for the Adams 12 Five Star school district in 2012, according to Adams 12. Her husband said she took on the work to help pay the bills after he broke his back.
She was devoted to the children she ferried, Josh Chopper said, once buying a boy who rode on her bus a pair of shoes when she noticed that he was wearing cleats all the time because that was all his parents could afford.
“She took care of the kids on the bus the same way she took care of our own kids,” he said, adding that Kari would decorate her bus on Thanksgiving, Halloween and Christmas.
In September of 2016, Chopper and her bus headed to the Denver airport to pick up 28 students and several coaches from a trip. While trying to exit the airport something went wrong and the bus crashed into a concrete pillar. 20 students were hurt and Chopper lost her life.
Sunday, in the hours before she died, Kari Chopper and her husband of more than 22 years cooked breakfast together and watched some football before he drove her to work about 2 p.m. — two hours before the crash.
“I got to give her a hug and a kiss and say, ‘Honey, I love you,’ ” Josh Chopper said. “She said, ‘Honey I love you.’ ”
He then watched as she walked up to her yellow bus and got inside.
“That was the last time we got to see each other,” he said.