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PLANE CRASH KILLS 'HUSKER QB BERRINGER

Published: Friday, April 19 1996 12:00 a.m. MDT

A Kansas map with burned, crisp edges was hidden in the dry prairie near the wreckage of the two-seat airplane, Brook Berringer's hometown of Goodland barely visible on it.

Berringer, the lanky 22-year-old quarterback who helped Nebraska win consecutive national championships, died Thursday as he began to work toward another dream - to pilot a commercial airplane.Berringer was piloting the 1946 Piper J-3 Cub aircraft when it crashed Thursday in a dry alfalfa field 11 miles northwest of Lincoln. Also killed was his girlfriend's 32-year-old brother, Tobey Lake of Aurora, Colo.

Berringer, expected to be selected in the NFL draft this weekend, held a pilot's license and often flew the plane, said Harry Barr, the plane's owner. Berringer flew the plane earlier this week.

At the Devaney Center in Lincoln, players and fans hugged one another late Thursday at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes banquet, at which Berringer had been scheduled to speak.

"Brook would want this event to go on as planned," Nebraska coach Tom Osborne said. "I know he would want it to be done in the spirit with which it was intended to honor God. Brook honored God. Brook enjoyed life to the fullest."

Gov. Ben Nelson, an NU alumnus and big football fan, issued a statement saying: "Brook Berringer touched our lives with his skill on the field, but he was much more than a football star. He was a respected role model and a natural leader."

The university canceled a national championship celebration that had been scheduled for tonight. The school announced fans who had purchased tickets could ask for a refund or for the cost of their tickets to be donated to a memorial being established for Berringer.

Witnesses said the plane reached only 250 feet before it plummeted into the ground.

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