Tue, Jan 22, 2008
Widow Sues Estate Of Other Pilot
The National Transportation Safety
Board has not yet ruled on what caused an
inflight collision near Cincinnati's Blue Ash Airport last
May... but that hasn't stopped one of the widows from filing a
We do know 31-year-old David Woeste Jr. was taking off in a
Cessna 172 with 65-year-old flight instructor Ted Hitchens. A
Beechcraft Bonanza piloted by 64-year-old Niels Harpsoe was on
approach to land on the same runway. As ANN reported, the
resulting collision killed all three men.
Beth Woeste is represented in a lawsuit by Jerome Skinner, a
lawyer at the Cincinnati office of Nolan Law Group, and alleges
Harpsoe was flying without a current medical, without a valid
certificate, under the influence of medication that impaired his
ability to operate his plane safely, and had been drinking alcohol
18 hours before the collision.
She's suing Harpsoe's estate for unspecified damages on behalf
of the couple's four children and Woeste's parents. The Cincinnati
Business Courier reports David Woeste was president of Best Nest
Inc., an online retailer of bird and wildlife products.
The lawsuit claims Harpsoe was negligent and careless, operating
his plane under the influence of medication "known to possess
depressant and sedative qualities," and that he "was not either at
the appropriate altitude or on the appropriate heading for an
Skinner told the paper the allegation of drug use by Harpsoe
stems from a toxicology screen on his body, but doesn't contend
Harpsoe violated federal rules that prohibit drinking alcohol for
eight hours prior to flying.
Skinner adds radio transmissions indicated that Woeste and
Hitchens were looking for Harpsoe's plane, but there was no
indication that Harpsoe was looking for Woeste's.
The Business Courier says there was no response to a request for
comment from Harpsoe's widow, Donna Harpsoe.
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