Akron plane crash victim had area connection

Published: Tuesday, November 10, 2015 @ 4:08 PM
Updated: Thursday, November 12, 2015 @ 7:53 PM

            New surveillance video shows the deadly plane crash from a distance. Investigators will spend their first full day at the scene today.
New surveillance video shows the deadly plane crash from a distance. Investigators will spend their first full day at the scene today.

A look at Flightaware.com revealed the following about the activity of the most recent activity for the charter:

On Monday

  • The jet left Fort Lauderdale, Fla., at 6:58 a.m. and arrived at St. Paul, Minn. Field at 9:19 a.m.,
  • It departed St. Paul at 10:59 a.m. and arrived at Quad City International Airport in Moline, Ill., at 11:46 a.m.
  • The jet departed Moline at 2:58 p.m. and arrived in St. Louis at 3:36 p.m.
  • The jet left St. Louis at 5:49 p.m. and landed in Cincinnati at Lunken Airport at 7:49 p.m.

On Tuesday

  • It took off from Lunken at 11:12 a.m. and touched down at Dayton Wright Brothers Airport at 11:25 a.m.
  • It departed the Dayton area airport at 2:13 p.m., bound for Akron Fulton International Airport.

The latest in the Akron plane crash on Tuesday that killed seven passengers and two crew members:

  • Seven victims identified: Diane Smoot, Gary Shapiro, Thomas Virgin, Diana Suriel, Jared Weiner, Oria Rom, Andres Chaves
  • Pebb Enterprises owns Sugarcreek Plaza strip mall
  • Plane took off from Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport
  • Jet clipped power lines, crashed into apartment building

UPDATE @ 7:40 p.m. (Nov. 12):

One of nine people killed in the charter plane crash was Gary Shapiro, the spouse of a former Dayton-area resident.

Shapiro, one of seven Pebb Enterprise employees on the jet, was the husband of Corey Weprin Shapiro, the daughter of William and Barbara Weprin, formerly of Oakwood. In addition to Corey Shapiro, Mr. Shapiro is survived by two daughters, one 3 years old and the other 2 months.

UPDATE @ 4:40 p.m. (Nov. 12):

Updates were given during a 20-minute news conference by the National Transportation Safety Board on the agency’s first full day of investigation at the scene of a fatal plane crash in Akron.

Bella Dinh-Zarr, vice chairman, NTSB, said the work started at 7 a.m. today and includes various teams focused on the aircraft’s structure; weather conditions at the time of crash; and the air traffic control and radar information, among others. She said both turbine engines have been removed to be examined.

“All of our teams have been working around the clock to gather information,” Dinh-Zarr said.

She said the NTSB’s on-scene investigation will continue for at least two more days.

“We’re still quite early in the investigation phase,” Dinh-Zarr said. “The objective is not just to find out what happened but why it happened,” so it can be prevented.

Dinh-Zarr said a team is still trying to locate the aircraft’s ground proximity warning system and the engine computer. They continue to search the apartment building and surrounding areas for plane materials.

The plane was manufactured in 1979, and the pilot had over 6,000 hours of flight time, Dinh-Zarr said.

She said 30 minutes of conversation from the cockpit voice recorder is of “poor quality,” but includes discussion of the weather conditions and landing in Akron. While Dinh-Zarr did say “sounds of the impact were recorded,” she wouldn’t say yet if there were any sounds of distress of the recording.

“There’s 30 minutes of conversation … we’ll be looking at it more carefully next week,” Dinh-Zarr said.

Any members of the public with information on the crash, can email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov.

“We do not determine probable cause or speculate while on scene,” Dinh-Zarr said.


The Florida real estate company that lost seven employees in a corporate jet crash in Akron had been attempting to buy commercial property in Sugarcreek Twp. in Greene County, a local official said.

Family members and news reports have identified seven of those believed to have been onboard the twin-engine corporate jet that crashed Tuesday in Akron after making a stop at Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport, killing all nine aboard including the seven employees.

The fund-raising site gofundme.com is hosting a memorial for Gary Shapiro, an employee of Boca Raton, Florida-based Pebb Enterprises. The posting said he died along with eight others who “tragically lost their lives in a plane crash.”

“Gary is survived by his wife Corey, and daughters Sammie (3 yrs) & Abigail (2 months). Please help support Corey and the girls,” the posting says.

Shapiro is described on the company’s website as director of leasing. The plane made numerous stops in the Midwest on its flight that started in Ft. Lauderdale on Monday.

A second employee of the Florida company — Diane Smoot, a 50-year-old manager — has been identified by family.

A third victim was identified late Wednesday by newsnet5.com based on reporting by Florida television station WPTV.

The man, Thomas Virgin, also died in the crash, his sister told the station, adding that he leaves behind a wife and four-month-old child. He is identified as Director of Construction/Development at Pebb, according to a profile on the networking website Linkedin.

Multiple media outlets have confirmed the other victims, although the names of the victims has not been officially released pending the coroner’s office confirmation of the victim identities using medcal records.

According to FlightAware.com, the plane first flew to St. Paul Minn., then to Moline, Ill., and St. Louis, Mo. It arrived at Cincinnati at 7:50 p.m. Tuesday morning before continuing to Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport and then on to Akron.

Pebb Enterprises has been seeking to buy commercial real estate on Wilmington Pike in Sugarcreek Twp., where Cub Foods was formerly housed.

“They’re acquiring this property,” Sugarcreek Twp. Administrator Barry Tiffany said. “They’re under contract — hopefully going to be closing in the very near future. From what I understand, they have a party that’s interested in leasing this space once they do close. We looked at it as a very positive thing.”

The Boca Raton company Wednesday posted the following message on its website:

“Our hearts are broken this morning with the news of the tragic accident that took the lives of two principals and five employees of Pebb Enterprises. We are shocked and deeply saddened for the families, colleagues and friends of those who perished. Our first priority is to give our fullest support to the family members and loved ones of our co-workers. We ask for the media’s understanding and cooperation at this time of unimaginable loss and mourning and are not responding to media requests at this time.”

Pebb Enterprises “has been a very active developer in buying retail sites across the country,” said Robert ZavakosCQ, senior vice president of the commercial real estate company NAI Bergman in Dayton.

Shapiro had been working on prospects for the Wilmington Pike site, and Zavakos said he gave Pebb a letter of intent.

“I was trying to find a spot that was close to (Interstate) 675 where we could put some small retail tenants,” he said.

Zavakos said he received an email from Shapiro last week and sent him a message informing the Pebb manager about a client’s change of plans.

“One of my clients today wanted me to relay a message to them, so I sent an email to Gary. I got a reply back saying he was going to be out of the office traveling until today.”

Zavakos said he was shocked when he heard about the crash. “Something like that touches you personally. Even though I wasn’t close to them, I still was completely shocked.”

Investigators with the Summit County coroner’s office and the National Transportation Safety Board are still identifying those who perished in the crash.

“We’re doing a very systematic recovery of these folks. It will take time to get the medical records to make the identification,” Lisa Kohler of the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office said at a press conference.

Diane Smoot, also of Florida, was said by family members to have been traveling with business colleagues to scout real estate with Pebb Enterprises, a Florida company that owns a strip mall in Sugarcreek Twp. in Greene County. The company’s website indicates it owns Sugarcreek Plaza on Wilmington Pike.

Twelve families living in the apartments at the crash site have been displaced and 11 are being helped by the American Red Cross, said Lt. Bill Haymaker of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

As the plane made its final approach to the Akron Fulton International Airport, it flew low and lowered its left wing toward the ground. At about 2:53 p.m., the plane’s wing clipped power lines and crashed into the top of a small apartment building on Mogadore Road in the Ellet neighborhood of Akron before careening into an embankment and bursting into flames.

An NTSB representative said Wednesday afternoon that a pilot in another plane that landed immediately before the jet crashed has been interviewed.

Haymaker said the passenger compartment remained intact after the crash but was heavily burned. “That is the problem with the recovery at this point,” he said. “The recovery could take days and be extensive in nature.”

He added: “You won’t hear the names of passengers or copilots until there is 100 percent identification.”

Family members can contact authorities at (330) 535-6131 to confirm the identify of those aboard, Haymaker said.

The Palm Beach Post is reporting that Pebb Enterprises lost seven employees in the crash. The Boca Raton-based real estate firm is a “close-knit family business with deep ties to Palm Beach County. The company builds new properties and rehabs old ones and is in the process of redoing an old shopping center in Cincinnati,” according to the newspaper.

In Palm Beach County, Pebb is building a combined Toys R Us/Babies R Us store on State Road 7 in Wellington. Pebb previously built the Shoppes at Isla Verde shopping center in Wellington.

The 40-year-old company owns, operates and develops a diversified portfolio of more than 2 million square feet of commercial property throughout South Florida and the Midwest.


The Ohio State Patrol’s Akron post said the investigation so far shows that the crashed into power lines and a four-family apartment complex before slamming into an embankment. The crash occurred as the jet was on an approach to the Akron Fulton Airport from the Wright Brothers Airport in Miami Twp.

The plane, a Hawker H25 twin-engine 10-passenger jet chartered by Execuflight,crashed into a four unit apartment building and a single family home directly behind it caught on fire as well, said Lt. Leon Henderson of the Akron Fire Department. No one was in either structure, he said, although a tenant in the apartment building left to go to the grocery store shortly before the incident.

“When he came back the plane was in the building,” Henderson said of the tenant.

The first call came in about 2:54 p.m. followed by 20 to 30 other calls from people saying there was an explosion. The callers didn’t realize that a plane had crashed, he said.

Eyewitnesses said the explosion from the crash sounded like artillery fire, and flames shot up as high as 60 feet, Henderson said.

The plane arrived at the Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport in Miami Twp. at 11:25 a.m. Tuesday following a 13-minute flight from Cincinnati Municipal Airport, according to Augusto Lewkowicz, whose company Execuflight Inc. owned and operated the aircraft. The plane crashed 36 minutes after takeoff.

Lewkowicz said the plane was starting the second-leg of flights that began Monday morning in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Akron Mayor Jeff Fusco said the area will be shut down for at least two days.

Aviation investigators and law enforcement officials will be back at the scene today working to determine what caused the crash.

2-motorcycle accident in Fairborn sends 3 to area hospitals

Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 @ 9:52 PM
Updated: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 @ 10:21 PM

Multi-vehicle Greene Co. crash

UPDATE @ 10:12 p.m.: Speeding has been determined as the cause of a two-motorcycle accident on Bath Road in Fairborn that sent three people to area hospitals, a trooper with the Ohio Highway Patrol said. 

Two of the injured aboard one of the bikes have been taken to Miami Valley Hospital. The lone motorcyclist on the second bike has been taken to Grandview Medical Center. 

None of the injuries was considered life threatening. 

The trooper from the Xenia post said the motorcycles, which ended up in a ditch or yard off Bath Road between Adams and Kitridge roads, were being driven too fast. The at-fault motorcyclist will be cited for failure to control. 

An earlier report that a small car may have been involved in the accident was incorrect.


Crews have been dispatched to a multiple-vehicle accident, involving as many as three motorcycles, in the 4600 block of Bath Road, near Adams Road in Fairborn.

OTHER LOCAL NEWS: Hurricane Maria -- another task force deploys

The incident, which also reportedly involves a small car, was dispatched just after 9:30 p.m. 

We're hearing from arriving fire/rescue crews that the motorcycles are in a ditch. 

We have a crew on the way to check it out. Stay with whio.com for breaking news. 

GOT A TIP? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com

Fire in vacant Dayton house under investigation as suspicious

Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 @ 8:56 PM

Weaver St vacant house fire

A fire that caused significant damage to a vacant house in the 1600 block of Weaver Street in Dayton is being investigated as suspicious, Dayton fire personnel said. 

Crews were dispatched just after 5:30 p.m. on a report of a possible structure fire with smoke and flames showing. The dispatch was upgraded minutes later to a working structure fire. 

No injuries were reported. 

Crews told us this is the second fire in a vacant house today. The other was Wednesday morning on Anna Street

RELATED: Cause of vacant house in Clark County ‘undetermined’

GOT A TIP? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com

Guilty plea accepted in Tipp City home robbery for stolen drugs

Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 @ 6:46 PM

Carlos Gomez (Courtesy/Miami County Jail)
Carlos Gomez (Courtesy/Miami County Jail)

The last of four people indicted on charges stemming from the robbery of a Tipp City home to retrieve stolen drugs pleaded guilty to a lesser felony in a Troy courtroom on Wednesday.

Carlos Gomez, 23, now of Baldwin Park, Calif., was returned to Ohio to face the charge from a November incident in which Tipp City police said one person was injured. 

He is to be sentenced Oct. 31.

RELATED: Tipp City man gets 6 years in home robbery for drugs

Gomez pleaded in Miami County Common Pleas Court as part of an agreement with the county prosecutor’s office, in which an aggravated robbery charge was changed to felony robbery. He could be sentenced up to three years in prison.

Visiting Judge William Wolff Jr. told Gomez that because he was not a U.S. citizen, he could be deported, excluded from admission to the country and denied naturalization as a U.S. citizen. 

Gomez said he understood those possible consequences. He is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.

GOT A TIP? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com

Man recovered from Wolf Creek in Dayton was focus of endangered missing alert

Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 @ 4:52 PM
Updated: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 @ 5:52 PM

WATCH: Recovery of body found in river underway in Dayton

UPDATE @ 5:58 p.m.: Dayton police have been working all day with the family of Charles Romine, who was the focus of an endangered missing adult alert, Sgt. John Riegel said. 

Police investigators received additional information that led them to the location along Wolf Creek. Police had been searching bushes and all along the riverbank when an officer made the discovery. 

"I don't know how long he's been in the water," Riegel said, noting that the cause of death right now is not known. 

Riegel said he had no information to indicate that the man took his own life. 

Information police had Tuesday, from the family, was that the man was lost, the sergeant said, "and that's why police were looking for him."

UPDATE @ 5:46 p.m.: 

The body recovered from Wolf Creek is believed to be Charles Romine, 71, for whom Dayton police issued an endangered missing adult alert this morning, a Dayton homicide detective said.

UPDATE @ 5:18 p.m.: 

The body recovered from Wolf Creek is a man believed to be in his 70s, Dayton fire personnel is telling us. 

OTHER LOCAL NEWS:  Police ask for help in locating missing adult

The Montgomery County Coroner's Office will make the official determination as to the man's identification, but Dayton police this morning issued an endangered missing adult alert for 71-year-old Charles Romine. 

He has not been heard from since Monday, police said.


A body has been spotted in the Wolf Creek, off the bridge that spans West Riverview Avenue and North James H. McGee Boulevard.

MORE LOCAL NEWS: No charges in child’s death in hot car

Fire/rescue crews have brought a boat to Wolf Creek, in the area of West Riverview Avenue and Philadelphia Drive, on a police officer's request for a "water recovery." 

The incident was dispatched just after 4:30 p.m. 

According to a sergeant with Montgomery County Regional Dispatch, a police officer who had driven onto the bridge from Riverview to North James H. McGee Boulevard called regional dispatch after reportedly seeing something in the water. 

Dayton police and fire have taped off access to the bridge and are keeping media away from the bridge. 

We will update this developing report. 

GOT A TIP? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com.