Student, family die in San Diego plane crash
Published: Friday, January 18, 2013
Updated: Friday, January 18, 2013 01:01
The SMU community is in mourning after a first-year student and her family was killed in a small plane crash just outside San Diego, Calif. on Dec. 29.
Katelyn Jane Stern, also known as Katey, and her parents William Stern Jr. and Jennifer Stern were flying back to their Phoenix, Ariz. home when their plane crashed.
The Stern family was well known throughout the Arizona community for their produce company, Sterns Produce.
Friends of Katey told CBS 5 in Arizona that Katey was always smiling, and had dreams of being a broadcaster.
She had pre-majors in both Business and Journalism.
Her friend, only identified as Chloe, told CBS 5, “she was the weather girl for high school. She was the only one that was good at it.”
“She just has the greatest smile and greatest laugh and it’s something that honestly none of us will ever forget and it’s surreal that it’s not coming back,” friend Jessica Michael told Arizona’s 3TV.
Friends of the Stern family stopped by the Stern’s house to pay their respects at a makeshift memorial.
William Stern Jr., described by friends as an avid pilot, was flying his family in a self-built plane.
The single-engine plane was a four-seat Lancair IV-P, according to FAA spokesman Ian Gregor.
The Lancair website posted that the IV-P is no longer in production. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are continuing to investigate the cause of the crash.
Stern was planning on going through recruitment at SMU. In honor of her memory, a moment of silence was held among all the students in Hughes-Trigg, just as recruitment week was to begin.
The university released a statement just days after the tragic incident informing students of Stern’s passing and offering help for students who may be struggling with her tragic death.
Help for students coping with the death can find help from the Dean of Student Life, Counseling and Psychiatric Services, Office of the Chaplain, a hall director or resident assistant, the Residence Life and Student Housing office and the SMU Police.