A high school athlete celebrating a soccer championship was killed after he apparently got drunk at a bonfire party and fell asleep in his car, which then rolled into the embers and became engulfed in flames.
Christopher “Chip” Kaup, 18, must have nodded off after the celebration early Thursday, Platte County Attorney John Kohl said Friday. The car, with a manual transmission, was on a slight incline, Kohl said. Investigators said they didn’t know whether the brake was on.
Kaup - who was a homecoming king and was collegebound - died four days after graduation.
“The obvious question everyone is asking, why something like this happened,” said Jack Nosal, the father of Kaup’s best friend.
Kaup and his soccer teammates were reveling in Columbus Scotus High School’s first state soccer title the night before the blaze. After the game, a party started in a field near Kaup’s parents’ house on the edge of this city of 20,000.
A preliminary autopsy found that his blood-alcohol level was over the legal limit of .10 percent.
The prosecutor said that he did not know who supplied the alcohol for the underage party and that it was too soon to say whether any charges would be filed.
LaVonne Kaup, the boy’s mother, had no comment.
Besides soccer, Kaup played football and was a diver on the school’s swim team. He had planned to attend Iowa State University and study aerospace engineering. Eventually, he hoped to enlist in the Air Force.
Football coach Jim Puetz said Kaup may not have been a star athlete, but he had the respect of his teammates.
“He wasn’t fast, but he was a tough kid and a kid who was always there and gave great effort,” Puetz said.