Plane crash legal claims settled for $3.95 millionCounty to pay $15,000 in settlement
Owls Head — Representatives for all of the parties involved in a fatal plane crash Nov. 16, 2012, at Knox County Regional Airport met in a "marathon mediation session" Sept. 4 and agreed to a $3,950,000 settlement, according to Knox County's attorney Peter Marchesi of Waterville.
Of that, he said Knox County will only pay $15,000 as a settlement. He did not release who was paying the largest portion of the settlement.
"In my judgement," Marchesi said, "Knox County did everything right."
Two University of Maine students and a recent graduate were killed in the plane crash when the single-engine aircraft collided on the runway with a vehicle driven by Stephen Turner, 62, an employee of Penobscot Island Air. Killed were, David Cheney, 22, of Beverly, Mass.; pilot William B.J. Hannigan III, 24, of South Portland; and Marcelo Rugini, 24, of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
The settlement will go to families of the men.
Marchesi said the airport had in place rules for ground operation of vehicles on the flight line and runways, and those rules were based on advice from the FAA. He said Turner was intimately familiar with the airport and had received training in these rules.
"I can't think what more the county could do," the attorney said.
The mediation meeting was held in Portsmouth, N.H. and included the families of the three men who died in the crash, legal counsel, Stephen Turner, Penobscot Island Air and the Air National Guard Flying Club in Bangor, which rented the plane to the young men.
The county's portion of the settlement will be paid through its insurance company, Phoenix, according to the attorney.
All three families of the young men had previously filed notices of claim with the county indicating their intention to sue for $2 million each.
Attorney Steven Silin, who represented the Rugini family, said this case involved three extraordinary young men from extraordinary families, noting that Rugini was an exceptional student. He described the crash as an unimaginable tragedy for these families.
He said the families have some sense of closure, given the limitations of the civil justice system. The only true justice, he said, would be to have their sons back. With closure on the legal side, they can now focus on dealing with the loss on an emotional and personal level, he said.
207 594-4401 ext. 122
Daniel Dunkle is editor of The Courier-Gazette and news director for Courier Publications. He lives in Rockland with his wife, Christine, who also works for Courier Publications, and two children.
Dunkle has previously served as editor of The Republican Journal in Belfast. He has worked as a reporter and photographer in the Midcoast for 15 years.
Recent Stories by Dan Dunkle
Dec 09, 2013
Dec 09, 2013
Dec 05, 2013
Dec 05, 2013
Nov 27, 2013