Sep 29

More Details Released in Lancaster Plane Crash – WGRZ

LANCASTER – The Lancaster Police Department on Sunday identified the two deceased plane crash victims as 78-year-old Anthony Mercurio who was the pilot and 14-year-old James Metz who was the passenger. Both are from Lancaster.

NTSB Investigator Brian Rayner also explained how his investigation of the collision and crash will take place. His final report on the facts of the crash will take about a year to complete. Rayner says he will be focusing on both pilots’ experience and medical conditions, the maintenance record of the planes, and even the weather conditions which were clear skies with sunshine. They will also review radar from the Buffalo airport, any radio communications between the pilots and the Lancaster airport, and of course the eyewitness testimony from the surviving pilot and those who saw and heard the crash.

Rayner says he also spoke with the pilot of the other plane which made a forced hard landing in Alden after the collision. The other plane was a kit built Searay which was transported to the Lancaster Police station for further examination. The pilot of that plane was identified as 59 year old Kevin D’Angelo and the passenger was an unidentified nine year old girl. They survived with minor injuries.

Rayner says D’Angelo has fully cooperated with the investigation and obviously felt very shaken by the turn of events.

Patricia Farinacci, who was visiting her mother’s home with her brother Michael Long, watched that plane plunge straight to the ground after it collided with another plane on Saturday morning.

“Right away, you start thinking about the victim’s families. Just shock. Sad,” Farinacci said. “Wishing I didn’t see it.”

Farinacci and Long said they both rushed to the scene of the crash to search for of Mercurio and Metz’s downed plane, immediately after witnessing it nosedive into the ground after the collision. They called 9-1-1, met up with emergency crews and saw the remains of the plane, describing it as looking as though it had simply decayed. The front of the plane was entirely destroyed, they said, and there was no visible smoke or fire.

“I would like to think the victims didn’t suffer,” Long said. “It happened so fast that I don’t think anyone had a chance to realize what was happening.”

Metz, a freshman at Lancaster High School, was remembered by classmates as a swimmer and a member of band.

“He was a kid that, when I sat next to him in study hall or religion, he would make everyone laugh,” Irene Handy said. “And everyone would smile when he was around.”

Rick Robinson, a Lancaster firefighter and family friend of James Metz, decided to visit the crash scene on Saturday.

“Fantastic people,” Robinson said. “You always hear, it always happens to good people. They were very good people. My heart is with them.”

Sep 29

Pilot who died in Plano crash identified as Elgin man, 80

A prominent attorney who championed socially conservative causes in the Elgin area has been identified as the pilot who died after crashing his plane near Plano in Kendall County Sunday evening.

Authorities identified the man as John Juergensmeyer, 80, and said he was the only person on board the plane at the time of the crash.

Man dead in plane crash in Plano

Juergensmeyer was found about 10 feet from the wreckage of the two-engine Cessna and was pronounced dead at the scene around 10 p.m. Sunday, according to Kendall County Coroner Ken Toftoy. According to Illinois State Police officials the exact address was 15900 Griswold Springs Rd. in Kendall County.

His daughter, Margaret Juergensmeyer, 45, of Bolingbrook said her father had flown to Collinsville to visit his brother, who is in a nursing home. He made similar trips about once a month. He had planned to land at the Aurora Municipal Airport in Sugar Grove, she said.

Juergensmeyer had been flying for more than 20 years, she said. The plane that crashed was his second. The first was destroyed in a tornado, Margaret said.

lRelated John E. Juergensmeyer
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“He was just a passionate guy,” she said. “There were a lot of things he loved to do. He was just everywhere and did everything.”

He enjoyed scuba diving in the Florida Keys and had a pool in Elgin that included aquatic plants.

Juergensmeyer was also chairman of The Life Center, a religious nonprofit and anti-abortion group that was involved in a dispute with the city of Elgin over a mobile RV that its members parked around town to provide ultrasounds, among other services.

Juergensmeyer had a long, distinguished career which included working as an assistant attorney general for the state of Illinois as well as serving on the local government committees for the Illinois and Chicago Bar Associations.

Presently, the 80-year-old headed his own Elgin-based law firm, Juergensmeyer and Associates, which released a statement Monday morning.

“We are devastated at the passing of our beloved boss,” the statement read. “All of his staff members have been with him for many, many years and words cannot begin to express the grief that we are feeling today. We extend our deepest sympathies to the Juergensmeyer family.”

Juergensmeyer was also active in a number of local political and civic organizations, including the Boy Scouts, the Salvation Army, United Methodist Church and Judson College. Juergensmeyer taught constitutional law and political science at Judson and in the past had taught at the University of Illinois, Northern Illinois University and the University of Hawaii, according to his law firm.

Juergensmeyer received his law degree from the University of Illinois as well as a Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University.

Witnesses on the scene of the crash told authorities that Juergensmeyer was flying low over a wooded area and struck some trees and crashed into a corn field in the 15600 block of Griswold Springs Road in unincorporated Plano, about 60 miles west of Chicago, according to Toftoy and the Kendall County sheriff’s office.

“It took the wings off when he hit the tops of the trees,” Toftoy said.

Emergency crews had a difficult time reaching the crash site, he said.  “The corn was really tall and there was no fire,” he said.

The wreckage was scattered around 50 yards, he said. It was not known where Juergensmeyer was headed at the time of the crash.

The flight was coming from Collinsville and destined for an airport in the Chicago area, said Elizabeth Cory, a spokeswoman with the Federal Aviation Administration. Cory confirmed Juergensmeyer was the only person on the plane.

Juergensmeyer leaves behind a wife, Dr. Elizabeth Juergensmeyer, and two children, Margaret Ann and Frances Elizabeth, according to his law firm.

Chachkevitch and Ford are Tribune reporters and Ruzich is a freelance reporter.

Copyright © 2014, Chicago Tribune

Sep 29

One dead, other injured in plane crash

One dead, one seriously injured after crash at Lake Wheel Water airport in Shepherd.

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