Jul 21, 2015

Denver lawyer, two family members and friend died in Saturday plane crash

A 66-year-old Denver man, his sister, his brother-in-law and a friend were the victims of Saturday's plane crash west of Cody, the Park County Sheriff's Office says.

Donald E. Scott had been piloting the plane, accompanied by his friend Joyce Bartoo of Washington, D.C., his 68-year-old sister Diane J. Stubbs and her 69-year-old husband Gerald B. Stubbs of Annapolis, Maryland, the sheriff's office said Tuesday.

Scott had been headed from the Sheridan airport to Billings late Saturday morning, but he took an unscheduled detour to fly over Yellowstone National Park, the sheriff's office said. After circling the Yellowstone, Scott started to head back toward Billings. However, not long after that, the plane took a sharp eastern turn toward Cody, rapidly dropped and crashed.

Autopsies conducted on Monday did not reveal any clues about what might have caused the airplane to crash, said Park County Coroner Tim Power.

"It did not indicate any cause as far as physical (health problems) that we could find," Power said. "So I guess that's going to be for the National Transportation (Safety) Board to hopefully come up with some answers for everybody."

The rough location of the crash.

The 1979 Cessna 310, a fixed-wing multi-engine prop plane, went down sometime around noon on Saturday. It crashed about 1.5 miles west of the Mooncrest Ranch along Big Tree Creek and a little more than 10 miles northwest of the Buffalo Bill Reservoir.

The Park County Search and Rescue Unit, with the help of Salt Lake City air traffic controllers, found the wreckage Saturday afternoon. Sheriff' Scott Steward later said it looked as though a bomb had gone off at the crash site.

The late Don Scott. Photo from Bartlit Beck website
Search and rescue team members, along with sheriff's personnel and the Shoshone National Forest's fire team and a helicopter from Sky Aviation in Worland, helped remove the victims' bodies on Sunday.

Members of the National Transportation Safety Board visited the crash site and began their investigation on Monday, taking over as the lead investigative agency.  The NTSB has been in contact with the plane’s insurer and removal of the wreckage is scheduled within the next several weeks, the sheriff's office said.

The plane was owned by a Independence Aviation, LLC, an Englewood, Colorado-based company that rents out airplanes like the Cessna 310.

Pilot Don Scott was a prominent lawyer who helped found the firm Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP in Denver.

"Don was an exceptional friend, mentor, and trial lawyer. All of us at Bartlit Beck are better people and lawyers because of him," the firm said in a Tuesday statement, adding, "Our deepest condolences go out to his family and all of those close to those on board."

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