Spouse of broadcaster killed in Louisiana plane crash sues

The Associated Press

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) -- The husband of a broadcast journalist who was killed in a Louisiana plane crash along with four others has filed a lawsuit against the aircraft's owners and insurers, as well as the pilot's estate.

Steven Ensminger Jr., the son of Louisiana State University's offensive coordinator, sued the defendants in Lafayette Parish court this month seeking unspecified damages for the death of his wife, Carley McCord, news outlets reported.

McCord was one of five people who died in December when the small plane crashed on its way to Atlanta for a college football playoff game between Louisiana State University and the University of Oklahoma. A sixth passenger was severely injured and multiple victims were hurt when the plane hit the ground shortly after taking off from the Lafayette Regional Airport.

Ensminger's suit alleges that the owners of the plane, Global Data Systems, Inc., Cheyenne Partners, LLC., Eagle Air, LLC. and Southern Lifestyle Development Company, LLC, failed to properly inspect and maintain it, and were negligent in letting the pilot, Ian Biggs, fly in non-ideal conditions without proper training, news outlets reported, citing the lawsuit. Biggs died in the crash.

Chuck Vincent of Eagle Air declined to comment, as did Southern Lifestyle. Global Data Systems, owned by a man whose wife and son died in the crash, along with a company vice president, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The suit also names two insurance companies and Biggs' estate.

The families of two other victims, as well as the sole survivor - Global Data Vice President Stephen Wade Berzas - and Kristie Danielle Britt, whose vehicle was hit by the plane, filed lawsuits naming the same defendants, The Advocate reported. Details on those lawsuits were not available, the newspaper said.

The National Transportation and Safety Board has not released its final report about the fatal crash, but did say visibility was low at the time. The agency was set to assess weather conditions as well as the pilot's training and the aircraft's maintenance history, among other factors, during its investigation.

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