Surviving Spouse Agrees To Reduced Sentence
Another chapter was added this week
to the sad tale of a 2004 plane crash at a charity balloon rally in
Wisconsin. The husband of the woman lost in the crash agreed to
support a plea deal, that drastically reduced the amount of time
the pilot may need to spend in prison.
As ANN reported, Mark Strub
offered to take passengers in his 1941 PT-13 Stearman biplane
on 10-minute rides during the Children's Miracle Network Balloon
Rally in Wisconsin Rapids, for a suggested donation of $10. While
giving Kimberly Reed a ride in the vintage aircraft, the plane
struck power lines, and came to rest inverted in the Wisconsin
River. Strub survived the accident, but he wasn't able to free
Reed, who suffered a broken neck.
According to the NTSB Probable Cause report on the crash, Strub
said he had given three people free rides prior to the accident
flight. Reed has asked for an aerobatic flight, so with both
persons wearing parachutes the plane departed, and climbed to 3,000
After performing one Cuban eight, a loop, and two hammerhead
stalls, Strub and Reed were heading back to the airport, at an
altitude of about 50 feet over the water when the aircraft struck
the lines, and flipped into the Nepco Lake.
FAA aviation safety inspector Karen Krueger testified in a
criminal complaint Strub violated regs governing minimum safe
altitude, as well as a regulation from a section titled "Careless
or Reckless Operation of an Aircraft."
Strub was brought up on a charge of negligent homicide in the
crash last March, to which he initially pleaded not guilty. That
trial was to start next month... but on Tuesday, Strub pleaded no
content to the reduced misdemeanor charges of negligent operation
of a motor vehicle, and disorderly conduct. Strub had faced a
10-year maximum sentence if the case had gone to trial, reports the
Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune.
Now, Strub faces a maximum prison sentence of nine months in
jail on the first charge, and 90 days for disorderly conduct...
though in the plea deal, both sides reportedly agreed to two years
probation, as well as fines, court costs and counseling for Strub.
There remains the possibility of jail time, however, as the court
is not bound to honor the plea deal.
Wood County District Attorney Todd Wolf said he chose to accept
the plea agreement after meeting with witnesses, and talking to
Kimberly Reed's widower, Kevin... who reportedly said he wanted
Strub held responsible for the crash, but he didn't want to relive
the incident by going through a trial.
A sentencing hearing will be held February 5. Strub still faces
a civil case regarding the accident.