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Archive for Sunday, January 27, 2002

Mourning continues a year after fatal OSU plane crash

January 27, 2002

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— Sometimes, when Phyllis Lawson watches Detroit Pistons games, she pretends one of the players is her son.

"I scrunch my eyes where I really can't make out his face and I just allow myself to say, 'That's Danny,"' she said. "Sometimes I'm in denial like that."

Danny Lawson was one of 10 members of the Oklahoma State basketball program killed when a turboprop plane carrying them home from a game crashed in a field Jan. 27, 2001, near Byers, Colo.

A year later, the anguish remains, dealt with in different ways.

Phyllis and Daniel Lawson Sr. have filed lawsuits to find out every detail they can about the crash that killed their 21-year-old son. They blame the university, the coach and pilots.

"Danny has always had a fear of those little prop planes," Phyllis Lawson said. "He used to call me before they were leaving and ask me to pray with him. He didn't think he was going to make it one of these times."

Dan Noyes' son, Pat, was another of the victims.

"I never saw his body," Noyes said. "When I walk in a mall or anywhere there's a crowd of people, I look for him. I do believe in miracles. I don't want to let go of that and I never will."

His anguish is deep, his anger directed at the university. He holds Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton responsible for letting the plane take off that snowy night in Colorado. Noyes wants the coach to resign.

"That plane had no business being in the air," Noyes said.

An initial National Transportation Safety Board investigation showed the twin-engine Beechcraft King Air 200 lost electrical power before the accident. There has been no finding the school was at fault. A final report isn't expected until spring.

Others killed were Kansas University graduates Will Hancock, an OSU publicist, and trainer Brian Luinstra; plus player Nate Fleming, manager Jared Weiberg, play-by-play announcer Bill Teegins, radio engineer Kendall Durfey, and pilot Denver Mills and co-pilot Bjorn Fahlstrom.

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