Three of the four victims whose car was struck by a small aircraft said they’re struggling with mounting medical bills because the pilot was uninsured and his plane was not registered or properly inspected for years.
One person died and five were hurt on April 2 when a single-engine, two-seat Lancair IV crashed into a car on Interstate 15 near State Route 76. Two of the hurt people were in the airplane.
Attorneys for both the survivors and the pilot confirm that the pilot is uninsured.
“Disbelief. I’m not going to lie. It makes me angry someone can do that,” said Emily Boesmiller-Hoch, one of the people in the car.
“I don’t know if there’s the airport of FAA or somebody who needs to be regulating who’s flying around in the air,” said Jason Soule, another survivor.
FAA documents provided by the survivors’ attorney, Christian Hulburt, show that in 2013, the FAA notified Dennis Hooge his plane’s registration was about to expire. In 2014, the FAA sent him another letter saying it expired and “the airworthiness certificates no longer support the operation of the aircraft.”
“This has been one of the most disturbing cases,” said Hulburt.” Because it’s such an obvious case of clear liability, catastrophic injuries and irresponsible behavior and apparently nothing that anyone can do about it."
Hulburt said he also tried filing a claim with the victims’ uninsured driver insurances, but it was rejected.
NBC 7 spoke to the pilot’s attorney, Michael McCabe. He said the lack of insurance and registration was an oversight by his client. He said he's in the process of locating a crash witness who saw the car pull over to the side of the road. McCabe said the car on the shoulder was to blame for the accident. That's a statement the victims’ attorney said is inaccurate.
“When people are irresponsible, they need to be held accountable for what they did,” said Aaron McCann who also survived the crash.
Soule said he risks being evicted from his home because he’s unable to work and get financial support from the pilot’s insurance. A GoFundMe page has been created to help him.
The NTSB is still investigating what caused the plane to malfunction.