Community of Benton mourns couple lost in plane crash - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Community of Benton mourns couple lost in plane crash

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The couple, from Benton Ohio, was well-liked and well respected. The couple, from Benton Ohio, was well-liked and well respected.
Benton, OH -

Lazarus Sommers and his wife Maryann took off from an air strip at the Akron Fulton airport at 3:18 p.m. Friday, April 11 and crashed in rural West Virginia about an hour and 45 minutes later.

The couple lived in this small town called Benton, almost two hours south of Cleveland. They were well-known and well-liked and an integral part of this community both socially and financially.

"Yeah. It's very devastating. Very sad. Tough loss for the community. Yes it will be," said Katie Yoder, a resident of Benton.

Lazarus and Maryann were en route to see their son in South Carolina. Their crash site was so remote access was a problem for authorities who responded to the scene.

"They are not able to get vehicles up there, not even ATVs," said Corporal Brian Humphreys with the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department.

Mr. Sommers, an accomplished pilot, earned his commercial license in 2010 but his experience was not enough to keep the small plane airborne. The aircraft was last seen almost dropping out of the sky.

"They saw a rapid descent and then 911 calls," added Humphreys.

Lazaraus Sommers was also the CEO of a company called GT Thunder, an extremely successful all terrain vehicle parts and service company with multiple national titles that brought much needed revenue to this small community from far and wide.

Many of his customers came from far away because he would work on their racing machines. 

But a day after the crash many in this small town have heavy hearts tonight remembering their dearly departed friends.

"Very sad. We will pray for their family," said Katie Yoder.

 It is too early to determine a cause for the crash. 

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