Tuesday, May 30, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Widow Sues After Plane Kills Husband

CHICO, Calif. (CN) - A crop dusting company let planes land on its private airstrip while a worker repaired it, and a plane hit the man and killed him, his widow claims in court.

Willie Suarez's widow LeKeitha Hoskins, and his daughter and sister sued Williams Ag Service on Dec. 29, 2014, in Butte County Court, alleging wrongful death, premises liability and negligence,.

The widow claims that Williams Ag Service hired nonparty Arrow Asphalt to do some paving and repairs on its private airstrip on May 9, 2013. Willie Suarez worked for Arrow.

"Williams chose to keep the airstrip active during the ground repair work with its aircraft using the airstrip throughout the day for takeoffs, landings and taxiing," the complaint states.

Williams did not use cones, tape, flaggers, barricades or other safety warnings, nor arrange another communication system between planes and Arrow Asphalt workers, Hoskins says in the lawsuit. As a result, "an aircraft owned and operated by Williams collided with the decedent while he was working on the subject airstrip, causing his instantaneous death."

The family seeks compensation for loss of financial support, loss of consortium and funeral and burial costs.

They are represented by Stewart P. Galbraith and Robert W. Brannen with Penney & Associates in Chico.

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.