No Further Suits May Be Filed
The participants have finally tired
of a marathon lawsuit in Chicago which started more than a decade
The Chicago Tribune reports it all started October 30, 1996,
when four people died in the fiery crash of a twin-engine
Gulfstream IV jet, following a botched takeoff from what is now
known as Chicago Executive Airport (PWK).
The pilot, 53-year-old Martin Koppie, 54-year-old Aon Risk
Services CEO Arthur Quern, 33-year-old flight attendant Christine
Mio Anderson, and 50-year-old co-pilot Robert Hampton Whitener were
leaving on a two-day round trip to Burbank, CA.
The NTSB ruled that Koppie failed to maintain control in gusty
crosswinds, and didn't abort the takeoff in time, and that Whitener
failed to "adequately monitor and/or take sufficient remedial
action." According to cockpit tapes recovered at the accident site,
one of the pilots called for "reverse," but the other urgently
said, "No, no, no, go, go, go, go, go."
The jet's landing gear hit a ditch, the plane began shedding
parts, and slid and burned just beyond the airport's north
The plane was owned by cosmetics giant Alberto-Culver, which had
a cooperative arrangement with Aon Risk Services to share each
others' aircraft when needed. The NTSB said the two companies did a
poor job of address takeoff procedural differences between their
aircraft. The airport got some blame for the ditch, which is no
The families of all four victims got lawyers,
and reached settlements or won jury verdicts in lawsuits against
the companies, and against the airport, which is co-owned by the
communities of Wheeling and Prospect Heights. In order to end the
legal battle royale, the airport's insurance company agreed to pay
$6 million to cover a portion of the loss of the jet, which was
valued at over $27 million.
Wednesday's settlement means the crash can spawn no more
lawsuits. Chicago Executive Airport manager Dennis Rouleau said the
settlement would have no financial impact on the airport.
"I feel badly for the loss of life," Rouleau said. "It was an
unfortunate accident. I'm just glad finally it's over."