OGDEN — The children and parents of a West Haven couple killed in a Riverdale plane crash have filed two lawsuits alleging negligence in the aircraft’s manufacture, maintenance and operation.
Perry and Sarah Huffaker were passengers on a Beech A36TC light plane piloted July 26, 2017, by their friend Layne Clarke that crashed onto Interstate 15 near Riverdale Road shortly after takeoff from Ogden-Hinckley Airport.
Clarke’s wife, Diana, also was aboard and all four were killed. The four were en route to vacation in West Yellowstone, Montana.
An attorney representing the Huffakers’ four children and the couple’s parents recently filed suit in 2nd District Court against Eagle Fuel Cells of Eagle River, Wisconsin.
The complaint alleges product liability, negligence and wrongful death due to the alleged faulty manufacture and operation of a fuel bladder in the Beech.
On Tuesday, the family’s attorney filed a separate, amended suit against 12 businesses that allegedly were responsible for maintenance of the plane.
That suit originally was filed in 2017, naming 11 other companies, many of them manufacturers of major components of the Beech. Those defendants have been dismissed from the suit, leading to the filing of the amended complaint naming new defendants.
The 2017 suit makes similar allegations to those in the case against Eagle Fuel Cells, including product liability, negligence and wrongful death. It also names as a defendant the estate of Layne Clarke, asserting that the pilot was negligent as well.
The Clarke estate’s attorney responded in court filings that the Clarkes fulfilled their duty of complying with Federal Aviation Administration regulations and that any deficiencies in the plane may have been the fault of the aircraft’s manufacturers and maintainers.
A National Transportation Safety Board preliminary investigation report made no conclusions about the cause of the crash, but it quoted Ogden airport mechanics as saying they looked up during the takeoff because the sound was unusual.
“As the airplane passed by, they noticed the engine sound was underpowered and the tail of the airplane (was) going up and down, as if the pilot was struggling to keep the airplane at altitude,” the report said.
The NTSB has not yet filed a final report of the crash.
Efforts to contact Eric Olson, of Salt Lake City, the Huffaker family’s attorney, were not immediately successful.
Eagle Fuel Cells’ attorney, Scott Sweeney of Denver, declined to comment Thursday.
That suit was transferred to U.S. District Court this week at Eagle Fuel Cells’ request.