david furr evansville car accident
The university canceled the rest of the season. UE paid for the funerals and offered the surviving siblings, widows, and children of the victims a scholarship to the university, redeemable throughout their lifetimes. The plane arrived in Evansville from Indianapolis about two hours late. The conductor sounded a warning whistle that reverberated like a dirge on the unforgiving walls of the ravine. "Evansville Aces" equipment bags were strewn on the ground. King, a UE fan and furniture store owner, had grown close to the Aces. To help the university rebuild the program, the NCAA waived a rule requiring transfer athletes to sit out their first year at a new school. Additional access roads have been added to the property in the years since. Because an Indiana law restricted the amount that can be recovered from the death of a young person without dependents, families of team players and managers from Indiana did not receive as large a settlement as families of victims from other states. The crash occurred alongside the Louisville & Nashville Railroad tracks. “It was sitting there like a little bonfire.” With the fire lighting the scene, Wolf and Timmel were stunned to see the huge tail-end of a DC-3 sticking up in the air. “We needed somebody who was hungry to be successful.”. [2], A memorial has been constructed at the University of Evansville known as the "Weeping Basketball." The city, the families of the dead, and the university received an outpouring of support. "I walk past the memorial to that team every single day, and every day I would see the names carved in the monument," he says. Investigators believed the engines lost some power, causing the pilots to increase throttle. By the end of 1977, all of the members of UE’s Purple Aces were dead. “We were under pains not to tell anybody exactly what was happening until the police verified everything,” Wallace Graves recalls. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. “Season tickets to the best seats,” Time noted, “were so hard to come by that die-hard fans fought over them in divorce settlements.”. Today, the University of Evansville holds a ceremony to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the plane crash.

Althoff had a similar realization. The Evansville Fire Department sent nine vehicles, but none were able to reach the site because of the mud and the lack of roads. The plane assumed an extreme nose-high, tail-low position, climbing into the clouds and disappearing for an instant before reappearing a moment later, headed toward the ground. At the far end of what is known as Memorial Plaza, two stone walls, inscribed with the names of those lost in the tragedy, create a doorway to an inconspicuous haven. The only member of the Purple Aces who did not die in the crash was David Furr; he was out for the season with an ankle injury and thus was not on the plane that day. Althoff’s partner on the police force, Terry Brooks, already was at the scene. i WAS 29 YEARS OLD AND HEARD THE PLANE GO DOWN ALONG WITH A FRIEND. They concluded the probable cause leading to the deaths of all 29 aboard Air Indiana 216 was two-fold: Too much baggage was loaded in the back of the plane, shifting the center of gravity to the rear, compounded by the co-pilot’s failure to remove control locks on the rudder and the right aileron, a control hinge on the wing. Sometime before midnight, Graves left the police station and went to the community center to comfort family members. Some may call him lucky, but it didn’t last long. This band of young men was part of a pivotal moment in UE’s basketball program. "Losing them was devastating to those communities just like it was here in Evansville.". The plane crashed on a muddy hillside next to a ravine not long after takeoff. The entire University of Evansville basketball team was among the victims. The crash site was a muddy, remote area alongside railroad tracks and burst into flames. At about 7:30 p.m. – 10 minutes after her husband’s plane had crashed – Kathy Vonderahe, Maury King’s wife (who has since remarried), was sitting down at home with her two young children to watch television.

Also engraved is an excerpt from the eulogy delivered by school president Wallace Graves at a memorial service: "Out of the agony of this hour we will rise. The only member of the Evansville team who was not on the plane that night was a young man named David Furr. But just two weeks after the crash, Furr and his younger brother Byron were killed in a car accident near Newton, Illinois, leaving the entire 1977 Evansville team dead. When Kathy saw the earliest news reports that a plane had crashed at the Evansville airport, she wasn’t terribly concerned, knowing her husband’s plane was scheduled to leave much earlier. “We couldn’t see any point in not doing so.”, Enormous grief descended over the campus and the city in the days after the accident. David Furr was the only team member who was not on board when the plane crashed. So many bonds were broken that night. Evidence of this emerges in small but meaningful ways.

Pike High School graduate Mark Siegal was also killed. The flames were blue, not orange, due to, Timmel says, the high alcohol content in the fuel. Though 30 years have passed, many Evansvillians remember what they were doing on the night of Dec. 13, 1977, when they heard about the plane crash that killed the hometown basketball team. Investigation reports would later show that after the aircraft landed and parked, both engines were shut down. Newsome Community Center, which was on the train line Downtown. “We had heard there was still one person alive at one of the hospitals,” Jeff recalls. As it was, the extra baggage shifted the plane's center of gravity to the back end, and the locked rudder and aileron made it impossible to control the overweight aircraft. Also among the victims were Willard Hartford, general manager, and James Martin Stewart, president, of National Jet Service of Indianapolis which owned the charter plane. A link has been sent to your friend's email address.

“We’d been to a couple of plane crashes out there over the years, and it was one passenger or two passenger (planes),” Timmel says. On Dec. 13, 1977, a DC-3 charter plane carrying the University of Evansville basketball team to Nashville. Please be polite. All rights reserved. Season ticket sales had dropped and just as the team was moving up into the NCAA’s prestigious Division I, McCutchan retired, at the age of 65. Beyond his coaching success was McCutchan’s engaging personality. When he got there he saw bodies on the ground but at that point really had no idea who the passengers had been. The victims of the crash are not forgotten. The National Transportation Safety Board blamed the crash on the pilot's failure to remove gust locks on the right aileron and the rudder before takeoff, as well as an overloaded baggage compartment.

John Althoff, a 31-year-old police officer and crime scene technician, was at home on the evening of the tragedy, watching television. That was sort of the genesis for the documentary.". Team statistician David Furr did not make the trip with the team that day.


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