RIVERDALE, Weber County — The families of two couples killed in a plane crash in Weber County in July are still friends, says the attorney representing one of the families suing the other family's estate.
"The Huffakers were friends with the Clarkes before this tragic incident happened. They remain so today," said Eric Olson, who is representing the Huffaker estate in a wrongful death lawsuit against the Clarke estate.
The estate of Perry and Sarah Huffaker filed the lawsuit in 2nd District Court last week against the estate of Layne and Diana Clarke. Both couples were killed July 26 when the Beech A36 Bonanza they were in crashed into the median of I-15 near Riverdale shortly after taking off from Ogden-Hinckley Airport. The couples, close friends, were flying north to go on vacation together.
After filing their lawsuit, the estate of the Huffakers received some negative feedback from the public.
But Olson wanted to clarify the situation on Thursday, and assured that the families are still friends and that the filing of the lawsuit is a legal formality.
“The Clarkes obtained insurance for the airplane in case anything tragic like this ever happened. The amount of insurance coverage is still under investigation. The law imposes deadlines by which lawsuits have to be filed," he said. "The lawsuit was filed Friday to meet any and all deadlines that could apply, while the parties continue their investigation."
Members of the Clarke family were named in the lawsuit to comply with the rules of filing such a case, Olson explained. Even when the plaintiffs are only seeking insurance proceeds, a member of the estate has to be named, he said.6 comments on this story
The Clarkes' attorney was notified before the lawsuit was actually filed, "so they would understand why the lawsuit was filed," he said.
A final report from the National Transportation Safety Board on a possible cause of the crash has not yet been completed. According to a preliminary report, witnesses told investigators that, "As the airplane passed by, they noticed the engine sound was underpowered and the tail of the airplane going up and down, as if the pilot was struggling to keep the airplane at altitude."