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Jury Awards Pilot's Family $10.5 Mil.

May 7, 2003 | Chicago Sun Times A jury awarded the family of airplane pilot Larry Koppie $10.5 million for the crash that took his life in 1996 near Palwaukee Airport in Wheeling.

The airport was found liable for 90 percent of the accident for having a ditch next to the runway.

The Gulfstream-IV jet was blown into the ditch during takeoff, damaging the landing gear, the brakes and the wing flaps.

The plane took off briefly, landed near an apartment complex and burst into flames, killing the two pilots, the flight attendant and the passenger.

Families of the other three occupants of the plane have all won verdicts or settled with the airport and the companies involved.

Alberto-Culver Corp., which owned the corporate jet, was found 5 percent liable for the accident, and Koppie was found 5 percent liable.

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