Tags: bloomington | plane | crash | kills | basketball | coach

Bloomington Plane Crash Kills Basketball Coach and 6 Others

By    |   Wednesday, 08 Apr 2015 06:37 AM

A small plane that had flown from Bloomington to Indianapolis for the NCAA championship game on Monday night crashed early Tuesday, killing all seven on board. The victims included a basketball coach and deputy athletic director at Illinois State University.

The Cessna 414 crashed just after midnight outside Bloomington, the Federal Aviation Administration told the Indianapolis Star. Associate head coach Torrey Ward, 36, and Aaron Leetch, 37, Illinois State's deputy director of athletics, were both confirmed killed in the crash, the newspaper said.

Officials identified the others on the plane as Scott Bittner, 42; Terry Stralow, 64; Jason Jones, 45; Thomas Hileman, 51, and Andrew Butler, 40.

Sgt. Bill Tate of the McLean County Sheriff's Office said Peoria air traffic control lost contact with the plane just after midnight and a search was started. Crews found the wreckage in a field outside Bloomington near Central Illinois Regional Airport about 3:15 a.m.

Illinois State University released a statement of condolence on Tuesday for Ward and Leetch.

"The Redbird family and the Bloomington-Normal community has suffered a terrible loss today," said the statement. "Aaron Leetch was a shining star in this business. He had a gift in dealing with people and building relationships ... Torrey Ward was a big part of the success taking place with our men's basketball program. He had a big personality, was a talented coach and recruiter, and our fans loved him."

Stralow was the co-owner of a popular pub near the Illinois State campus, reported the Chicago Tribune. His business partner, John Rokos, told the Tribune he found out in a phone call at 9 a.m. Tuesday that Stralow was involved in the accident.

"He was like my little brother," said Rokos. "I'm in shock. ... This is a tragedy. It's just a terrible loss. It's shocking."

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A small plane that had flown from Bloomington to Indianapolis for the NCAA championship game on Monday night crashed early Tuesday, killing all seven on board. The victims included a basketball coach and deputy athletic director at Illinois State University.
bloomington, plane, crash, kills, basketball, coach
326
2015-37-08
Wednesday, 08 Apr 2015 06:37 AM
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