A Cessna Citation C525 private jet crashed about 15 miles north of the Louisville International Airport Friday morning, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Authorities said the aircraft was flying "to Chicago Midway Airport when it disappeared from air traffic radar."
Police agencies in Clark County, Indiana, were alerted to the crash near Borden, Indiana, at about 11:30 a.m. Clark County authorities confirmed that a flight left the Clark County Airport in Sellersburg, Indiana, at about 11:24 a.m. en route to Chicago with three people aboard, including the pilot. The Indiana State Police confirmed that those three people are dead.
The I-Team has learned the plane apparently took off about 90 minutes late and reached an altitude of several thousand feet before the crash. The weather in the area was misty and overcast Friday morning. The area that the plane went down in is densely wooded, making it difficult for authorities to reach by any method except foot.
"Our whole house shook," said Breanna Beswick, who lives near the crash site. "We have trails in our backyard so we were just, like, walking around, trying to see what was going on, if we could see anything."
Wayne Estopinal, CEO of TEG Architects, is among the dead, the ABC7 I-Team confirmed. A man who answered the phone at one of the company's offices confirmed that Estopinal was on the way to Chicago. The company declined to confirm the identities of the other people on the flight.
"He was very passionate about Ball State. Feel very fortunate he spent so much of his energy to help move the university forward," said Rick Hall, chair of the Ball State University Board of Trustees.
Estopinal, 63, served on the Board of Trustees for years.
"Wayne was not only proud, but very grateful for the education he received at Ball State," said Ball State President Geoff Mearns.
Estopinal was a successful architect, part owner of two professional soccer teams, and an avid sports fan.
Flight Aware shows the tail number of the aircraft to be N525EG, which is registered to another company owned by Estopinal. Estopinal did have his pilot's license, but it was unclear if he was the one flying the plane.
The school released a statement upon Estopinal's death calling him "an exceptional leader and passionate supporter of the university." Estopinal was coming to Chicago for a Ball State-related event, the I-Team has learned.
He also founded several professional soccer teams, including the Louisville City Football Club. Brad Estes, president of the soccer club, and John Neace, principal owner, released statements upon Estopinal's identification as a victim of the crash.
"We at LouCity are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of club founder Wayne Estopinal," Estes said. "We would not be the club we are today without his innovation, leadership, and hard work, and his contributions to the community are something for which we are incredibly grateful. Our hearts are with Wayne's family and loved ones at this time."
"Greater Louisville lost a great corporate citizen today. Wayne was very active in the soccer community and will be missed by us all. We mourn this inexpressible loss and today acknowledge his contribution to Louisville City FC and the entire Louisville soccer community," Neace said.
No information on memorial or funeral services for Estopinal was available.
Local authorities handed the crash investigation over to FAA investigators and the National Transportation Safety Board.