Small plane crashes in Illinois, kills Indiana judge

Illinois News

UPDATE: Local authorities say Knox County judge Ryan Johanningsmeier was the pilot and only one on board a plane that crashed in Illinois. Lawrence County (Ill.) Coroner Shannon Steffey has not confirmed this report.

LAWRENCE County, Ill. (WTWO/WAWV) – Federal aviation officials and Lawrence County, Ill. authorities are working the site of a plane crash a few miles north of the county airport.

According to a news release from Sullivan County Sheriff Clark Cottom, his 911 dispatchers got a call just before 5 a.m. Saturday about an overdue aircraft to the Lawrence County, Ill. airport.

A deputy was sent from Sullivan County to Lawrence County to investigate. The deputy learned the pilot had stopped briefly at the Sullivan County airport to refuel before heading on to Lawrence’s airport.

A search began on the land between the airports, with assistance being requested from an Indiana State Police helicopter but it was reportedly too foggy for take off.

“Shortly after 8 a.m. a local pilot reported what appeared to be wreckage, approximately 3 miles north of the Lawrence County airport,” the release from Cottom stated.

The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, Lawrence County Coroners Office and the Federal Aviation Administration are working an investigation at that site.

Cottom said Illinois and federal officials should have more information later.

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(This story was originally published on Aug. 29, 2020)

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