Slopeside Grill bartender Rebecca Boucha places a bouquet of flowers in front of the restaurant Tuesday afternoon in memory of her boss Chris Corna. "He was a good friend and an even better boss," Boucha said.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Slopeside Grill bartender Rebecca Boucha places a bouquet of flowers in front of the restaurant Tuesday afternoon in memory of her boss Chris Corna. "He was a good friend and an even better boss," Boucha said.

Corna death under investigation

Police: Slopeside owner had stab wounds inconsistent with car crash

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If you go

What: Chris Corna memorial service

When: 5 p.m. Sunday

Where: Slopeside Grill, 1855 Ski Time Square Drive

Call: Lindsey Grannis at 846-5680 for more information

Donations: In lieu of flowers, donations should be made in Corna's name to Routt County Humane Society at 879-7247 or Doak Walker Care Center in care of the Healthcare Foundation for the Yampa Valley, 871-0700.

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Chris Corna

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Slopeside Grill owner Chris Corna, right, positions one of sixty 300-pound blocks of ice with, from left, Rob Capone, Larry Flynn and Steve Walsh to create a slopeside ice bar Feb. 18.

— The death of Slopeside Grill owner Chris Corna is under investigation by Port Chester, N.Y., police, who say Corna's injuries included stab wounds inconsistent with his car accident early Monday morning in the town about 30 miles northeast of Manhattan.

Lt. James Ladeairous said Corna, 45, crossed the center line on U.S. Highway 1 in a rented car and crashed into the foundation of a railroad bridge at about 4:35 a.m. Monday. He was found alone in the car, and no other vehicles were involved in the accident.

Ladeairous said the stab wounds on Corna's neck and chest appeared to be made by a knife. Ladeairous said police found a bloody knife in the car.

"The wounds are inconsistent with the accident," Ladeairous said Tuesday. "We don't know if they were self-inflicted or not. : There's still an investigation going on."

Ladeairous said police are testing the knife for fingerprints and testing for the origin of the blood. Ladeairous said there were no witnesses to the accident.

News of Corna's death has devastated friends and family members across the country, from his home in Steamboat Springs to his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, and to the Connecticut home of his fiancee, Lisette Coen.

"I can't imagine what I can say," said Chris Corna's mother, Barbara Corna, who thanked the people of Steamboat for their support and love. "He was my whole life. He was the most wonderful son that God ever placed on this Earth. I will miss him until the day I die, and I don't know how I can possibly go on without him. : He's never given me a single moment of sadness until right now."

Ladeairous said Coen came to the police station at 9 a.m. Monday saying she had received text messages from Corna early Monday morning but couldn't find him.

"She said she was sleeping when he must have went out, and then what happened, happened," Ladeairous said.

Coen confirmed this information. She said she didn't hear Corna leave her house.

"He was the love of my life. He was my soul mate - and I never believed in them before Chris," Coen said. "I keep waiting for him to walk through the door."

Coen said Corna had been visiting her and her family in Greenwich, Conn., since early May, and proposed to her last week.

"He proposed to me in front of my four kids at the breakfast table and told us it was a family decision," Coen said. "He proposed to me, and then he proposed to them. : It was a resounding 'yes.' : To watch children grieve should not be anyone's form of hell. They loved him."

Investigation continues

Ladeairous said an accident report would not be released until the investigation is complete. Officials in the Westchester County, N.Y., Medical Examiner's Office said Corna's causes of death were stab wounds to the neck transecting the carotid artery and trachea and blunt force trauma with multiple bone fractures.

"The medical examiner said the blunt trauma from the accident would have been enough to kill him," Ladeairous said. "But who knows that he didn't die first from the stab wound, and then crash? That's what we're trying to figure out."

Ladeairous said Corna could have been driving between 35 and 55 mph when he struck the foundation of the railroad overpass. The posted speed limit on U.S. 1 through Port Chester is 30 mph. A toxicology report is pending.

Port Chester is across the state line from Greenwich. Ladeairous said Corna was driving south on U.S. 1, away from Greenwich and in the direction of New York City.

Rock solid

Flowers, photos, notes and mementos have been placed outside Slopeside Grill at the foot of the ski slopes that Corna, an avid snowboarder, loved so much.

"After the slopes closed, he was counting the days until they opened again," said friend Mignon Stetman, who attended the University of Florida with Corna. Stetman said Corna was a rabid Gator fan who attended Florida's win against Ohio State University in the 2007 BCS National Championship football game. Stetman said Corna also loved Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and "followed them around like a groupie."

"He also loved driving around in his red convertible Cadillac he had back in the day," Stetman said with a laugh between the tears.

Corna also was a golfer, a scuba diver, a mountain biker and an animal lover, friends and family said.

"I think that this whole town is devastated and everyone is just suffering a great loss," Slopeside bartender Rebecca Boucha said. "I don't think Steamboat will ever be the same, let alone Slopeside. : Unfortunately, I only had the pleasure of working with him for three winters. I wish I could have had more time with him."

A recurring theme in stories told by those close to Corna was that he made a point to be a source of strength for them in times of need. Stetman said that when her husband died, Corna stepped up to handle all the arrangements.

"He was one of my rocks, and I feel like that rock has crumbled," she said. "He was a very special friend."

Coen said she has known Corna since she was 14 years old, when they were growing up in Ohio.

"He has been the same person from the very beginning," Coen said. "He always had a smile on his face, and a kind word for anyone. : We kept in touch through the circles of our world, and when we reconnected, it was just so easy. It was like coming home."

Coen said she and Corna had several trips planned this summer and intended to spend August in Steamboat with her children. They hoped to get married this summer, and had begun to discuss where they were going to live. Coen said it was given they would live at least part-time in Steamboat.

"He was happy. Everything was good. Everything was so good," Coen said. "I feel like I'm going to die of a broken heart. I really do."

A memorial service is planned for 5 p.m. Sunday at Slopeside Grill at the base of Steamboat Ski Area. The restaurant and bar is closed for mud season.

Corna's stepmother, Nadine Corna, said Chris Corna will be cremated in Connecticut and that his ashes immediately will be sent to Steamboat Springs.

Comments

TheBeard 5 years, 4 months ago

For all of the random acts of kindness that Chris provided the people of the world with, how sad that he would befall to an apparent random act of violence. Chris was a great human being whose advice on running a business let alone advice on living a good life helped me start and keep my business afloat for so long. You will be sorely missed. -Jay Mogil

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cliffwood 5 years, 4 months ago

what is going on?? none of this makes any sense. how could something this horrible happen to such a fantastic person.

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Andy Kennedy 5 years, 4 months ago

oh Chris, you were taken from us way too soon. you leave a huge hole in Steamboat's heart that we'll never be able to fill. this is such a sour tragedy, and our deep loss is heaven's great gain. we can only ask, why?

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rujokn 5 years, 4 months ago

he was so hands on and always happy... like really content. Only the good die young, right? Doesn't make it easier. Soo you sometime...

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freerider 5 years, 4 months ago

self inflicted knife wounds...no freking way...I hope they figure this one out.

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Terry Noble 5 years, 4 months ago

To read yesterday of his accidental death was so sad, but to see today that it was possibly an act of violence really makes me angry...peace in Heaven Chris!

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lisahuber 5 years, 4 months ago

All of your fellow Gators are mourning for you, Chris! We loved you back when you were our ADPi sweetheart and we always will! God Bless.

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Scott Wedel 5 years, 4 months ago

Chris was a great guy. His energy and positive outlook was contagious and inspirational.

The details of how he died does nothing, absolutely nothing, to change that. It does not matter if he was attacked or had internal demons that we can only imagine.

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janrt 5 years, 4 months ago

This news is so shocking. My parents from CT, Rolf and June, own a unit at Torian Plum-and we have known Chris for years- always looking forward to seeing his smiling face when we went to Slopeside. He always went out of his way to accomodate us and was so warm and friendly to my parents and to us. He was a real charming guy and will be sorely missed. Heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends all over the country. jan rosenthal townsend - Eagle, CO

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chris woodie 5 years, 4 months ago

Im crushed by this news. I worked for Chris for four seasons, and always considered him one of the best human beings I've met, a fantastic boss, and a stand up guy all around. Even though I live in Reno now, I will miss him greatly. I want justice!!!

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sickofitall 5 years, 4 months ago

google; lisette coen facebook, google greenwich real estate millions mega, google john coen recently arrested April 14 drunken assault on police officers alleged alleged sexual assault and his wife (lisette coen) chris's fiance, lisette coen about to marry a steamboat man.........does anyone see a connection? Seriously has there ever in history been a suicide by stabbing oneself while crashing a car EVER EVER EVER in history has this happened??????????? Give me a break. The truth needs to be revealed. Bless you Chris you were loved by so many deservedly so. Did not deserve this!

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oldskoolstmbt 5 years, 4 months ago

goodbye chris, may you bring into your next life what you brought into this one....and don't be so damn handsome this next go around!:) peace.

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