While returning from a NCAA game, a private plane crashed in a field. All 7 people on the plane were killed.
Among those killed included Torrey Ward, the associate head coach of Illinois State University and Aaron Leetch, an athletic director. Each passenger had apparently suffered from blunt force trauma, caused by the impact of the plane when it hit the ground. They were all found still strapped in their seats by their seatbelts. This was confirmed by Coroner Kathleen Davis.
The fog in the area of the crash is said to be the cause. However, there are thorough investigations being conducted by investigators to determine if there are any other possibilities. Even though the runway was working at the nearby Central Illinois Regional Airport, the tower was closed and all air traffic control responsibilities had been turned over to a facility in Peoria hours before the crash.
Before the crash had happened, the pilot had been in contact with Peoria and was cleared for landing. The initial time of arrival was supposed to be around midnight and there were no changes made by the pilot or reports of issues. Radio contact was lost and the plane went down shortly after. It took a total of three hours until the plane was found in a bean field in the dense fog just 2 ½ miles north of the airport.
The community at Illinois State University is mourning the loss of two important athletic department members.