Attorney claims owner of plane is not liable for crash damages
The owner of the small plane that crashed in a Medford neighborhood over the weekend, is now reporting it stolen.
Idaho resident Lamon Loucks's attorney David Leroy said he filed the police report in Caldwell, Idaho where he saw it tied down at the airport.
The 1947 era single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza with tail number N602BH crashed into a sidewalk outside a house in the 3200 block of Whittle Avenue in Medford June 8.
Leroy, of Leroy Law Office in Boise said the ownership of the plane is in doubt.
"The aircraft that crash in Oregon is of uncertain title, at this time, although it appears my client, who is un-involved in this circumstance, and did not know that the plane was removed from Caldwell airport, may be the title owner still," Leroy said.
Leroy's client took the title to the plane when the prior owner of the plane defaulted on a loan that he made to the original owner.
"That original owner got tied up in a bankruptcy proceeding, so instead of my client getting clear title, the trustee in the bankruptcy made a claim against the aircraft as well," Leroy said.
Leroy said Loucks didn't know of the alleged illegal activity.
Zachary Wayne Moore, 34, and Mathew William Thompson, 38, face charges of unlawful import/export of marijuana extract, unlawful delivery of marijuana extract, unlawful possession of marijuana extract, unlawful possession of a controlled substance and recklessly endangering another person.
"My client is utterly not involved," Leroy said.
Michael Gibson who's full size van was damaged in the crash said Loucks should have had insurance on his plane to cover the damage.
"I have to have insurance on my car or I'm in trouble with police but you can fly an aircraft from the airport with no insurance." Gibson told Rosebud Media Sunday. "How is that even possible?"
Allen Kenitzer, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said the FAA requires air carriers to maintain “economic authority” that is issued by the department of transportation and is usually demonstrated by them having adequate insurance for the operation.
"But, for a private individual (non-commercial) we don’t have a regulation that requires insurance," Kenitzer said.
Leroy confirmed the aircraft had no insurance and he believes the owner of the plane didn't need it.
"There was no insurance on this aircraft," Leroy said. "If this plane was stolen or unauthorized to be flown it's not necessarily foreseeable by an owner of an aircraft that it might crash at the hands of someone else. The individuals flying the plane would probably be those persons most liable for damages caused by a crash."
Leroy puts the liability on the operators of the plane, who are facing a slew of charges already in a Jackson County Courtroom and possible federal charges if they come down for taking marijuana across state lines.
Both Thompson and Moore have pleaded not guilty, have public defenders assigned to their case, and face a preliminary hearing scheduled for June 17