A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed in Morgan Country Circuit Court against the Jacksonville Airport Authority in connection with a fatal 2010 plane crash that occurred in Wheeling, Illinois.
David Van Hyning of Jacksonville, Illinois, the father of Benjamin Van Hyning (the student pilot who was killed in the crash on December 22, 2010), filed the lawsuit. The lawsuit is being re-filed after a previous suit was voluntarily dismissed.
Van Hyning was a passenger in a single-engine Cessna Sierra owned by Ronald Kesinger, a Jacksonville attorney. According to the lawsuit, Kesinger hired pilot Todd Cole to fly the aircraft from Wheeling to Jacksonville, and Van Hyning accompanied him as part of his flight education.
The lawsuit states that two employees of the Jacksonville Airport Authority flew Cole and Van Hyning to Wheeling before the second flight.
Shortly after taking off, Cole reported engine trouble and turned back. The plane crashed in a parking lot near the airport. Van Hyning died. Cole sustained severe injuries.
Cole and Kesinger were named as defendants in the previous lawsuit. The new suit claims that the airport authority should have known that the plane was unsafe because of its history. The suit also claims that the plane was not properly de-iced and that Cole was not a commercially licensed pilot.