Insurance company, family reach settlement in fatal plane crash

Updated: January 14, 2008, 4:25 PM ET
Associated Press

SANFORD, Fla. -- NASCAR's insurance company has settled with the family of a woman and infant killed last year when a plane owned by the racing organization slammed into their home, the family's attorney said Monday.

The agreement was reached last week between United States Aviation Underwriters and Joseph Woodard, who lost his wife and 6-month-old son in the crash, attorney Natalie Jackson said.

Jackson said the exact terms of the agreement are confidential. But the agreement ensures that Woodard's 4-year-old daughter's college tuition and other expenses will be paid. Woodard and his daughter were not in the Sanford home when the twin-engine Cessna 310 slammed into two homes on July 10, 2007, while trying to make an emergency landing at Orlando International Airport.

"Mr. Woodard wanted to put this behind him," Jackson said. "He was not interested in litigation."

Jackson said Woodard is still living in an apartment and is trying to rebuild his life. He is also working to establish a scholarship at Florida A&M University's College of Law in his wife's honor. Janise Joseph-Woodard was a first-year law student when she was killed. The settlement money will not be used to create the scholarship.

The settlement was not directly with NASCAR, which did not return calls requesting comment Monday. United States Aviation Underwriters also did not immediately return a call.

The crash also killed NASCAR pilot Michael Klemm and Dr. Bruce Kennedy, the husband of a high-ranking NASCAR executive, and a 4-year-old child in the second house that was hit.

It remains unclear who was piloting the plane because both Klemm and Kennedy held pilot's licenses, although Kennedy was less experienced.

Radio transmissions indicate the Cessna 310's cockpit was filling with smoke before it crashed. The plane was traveling from Daytona Beach to Lakeland, a 100-mile trip.

The National Transportation Safety Board has yet to issue a final report on the crash.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press