Report: NASCAR settles wrongful death suit associated with plane crash

Updated: September 18, 2008, 8:51 PM ET
Associated Press

SANFORD, Fla. -- NASCAR has verbally agreed to a settlement in the death of a pilot killed when a company plane crashed in central Florida last year, a newspaper reported Thursday.

A handwritten document in the court file of NASCAR pilot Michael Klemm noted a $2.4 million "wrongful death claim approved," according to records viewed by The Daytona Beach News-Journal this week before they were sealed.

Klemm and Dr. Bruce Kennedy, husband of International Speedway Corp. President Lesa France Kennedy, died when their twin-engine plane crashed into this suburban Orlando neighborhood on July 10, 2007. The crash ignited a blaze that killed three people in two houses.

NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Thursday night he did not know details of the settlement. The attorney for Klemm's widow, Eric Latinsky, and three sons told the newspaper he and NASCAR officials had agreed to keep the settlement confidential.

Latinsky did not return telephone and e-mail messages left for him by The Associated Press on Thursday.

"The purpose was to make sure the Klemm children could continue their education and be taken care of," Latinsky said Wednesday. "It was a confidential settlement and one of the main concerns was, in light of losing Michael at such a young age, how would [the sons] be able to attend college in the future."

The agreement would allow the family to make other claims toward some of the manufacturers of the plane's parts but not NASCAR and its affiliates, Latinsky said.

The Klemms' sons are 18, 21 and 23, court documents show.

Both Klemm, 56, and Kennedy, 54, were pilots, and it remains unclear who was flying the plane.

A NASCAR report concluded that fumes from an electrical fire incapacitated the two pilots. The cockpit filled with smoke, according to a preliminary report released by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Federal investigators have not published their final report on the crash.

The plane crashed en route from Daytona Beach to Lakeland, a 100-mile trip.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press