Plane crash near Louisville kills university trustee, soccer team founder

Ball State University board trustee Wayne Estopinal died in a plane crash near Louisville with two others Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. Courtesy of WDRB-TV.

Dec. 2 (UPI) — A plane crash in Memphis, Indiana, about 16 miles north of Louisville, Friday morning killed three people, including a Ball State University board trustee, who was a prominent local architect and founder of the city’s professional soccer team.

Wayne Estopinal, 63, of the Louisville City FC, has been the only person identified in the crash that happened about 11:30 a.m. when a Cessna Citation Jet 525A went down in a wooded area after taking off from Clark Regional Airport on its way to Chicago-Midway International Airport, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported.

The accident remains under investigation, but Clark Regional Airport manager John Secor told the newspaper that the debris field indicated that the plane did not break up in air but was heavily damaged when it went down in the wooded area.

National Weather Service meteorologist Ryan Sharp said that there was no severe weather in the area at the time of the crash.

Louisville City, a member of the United Soccer League, one level below Major League Soccer, released a statement Friday.

“We at LouCity are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of club founder Wayne Estopinal,” team president Brad 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.”

Rick Hall, chair of the Ball State’s board of trustees, and Geoffrey Mearns, president of the university, released a joint statement about Estopinal, a 1979 graduate of school’s College of Architecture and Planning.

“He was an exceptional leader and passionate supporter of the university,” they said. “As we mourn this loss to our Ball State family, we ask that you keep Wayne’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.”

The Muncie Star Press wrote that during Estopinal’s time on the board, Ball State stopped burning coal, banned smoking on campus, took over governance of distressed Muncie Community Schools and hired two university presidents.


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