Two men die when experimental aircraft crashes into field southwest of Westminster

October 31, 2001|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Two men were killed yesterday when their experimental aircraft crashed into a field several miles southwest of Westminster, according to Maryland State Police.

The victims were identified as Jerry Ralph Norton, 63, of the 12200 block of Old Frederick Road in Marriottsville, Howard County, and James Mathew Cloeren, 57, of the 2900 block of Rocky Drive, Westminster. Norton was the aircraft's pilot, police say. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.

When police answered an emergency call about 4:30 p.m., they said, they found the plane wrecked, but not burned, in a small stream. The bodies of the men were taken to the state medical examiner in Baltimore for autopsies.

The cause of the crash will be investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration's Office of Accident Investigation, police said.

Neighbors in the immediate vicinity said they didn't know the plane had crashed until firetrucks and ambulances began arriving.

"I didn't hear a thing," said Melanie Barnes, who lives across the street from the property in the 1400 block of Dennings Road.

"Technically, it is an experimental plane. It's not an enclosed aircraft," said Lt. Terry L. Katz, commander of the Westminster barracks.

Sun staff writers Richard Irwin and Childs Walker contributed to this article.

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