Families of Soldotna plane crash victims sue widow, estate of late Alaska Rep. Gary Knopp
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The widow and estate of late Alaska House Rep. Gary Knopp is being sued by the families of four of the victims of the July 2020 crash near Soldotna.
Seven people were killed in the crash: Knopp, Gregory Bell, David Rogers, Caleb Hulsey, Mackay Hulsey, Heather Hulsey and Kirstin Wright.
William Hulsey is suing individually and as a personal representative for the three Hulseys — all of whom were from South Carolina. A representative for Wright also filed a separate suit.
In the complaint attached to the lawsuit, Hulsey alleges that Knopp was negligent in his operation of the aircraft because he was flying without a valid medical certificate.
The complaint also goes on to speculate negligence against Helen Knopp, alleging she knew or should have known about her husband’s vision problems. The lawsuit also alleges this adding the Knopp “never obtained an FAA medical certificate.”
According to documents released by the National Transportation Safety Board, Knopp flew his plane despite being denied his medical flight certification eight years ago due to vision problems.
A medical factual report published by the NTSB said that Knopp had a history of medical problems with his eyes, including glaucoma in both eyes, as well as a cataract in his right eye.
The report states he received laser eye surgery for glaucoma in 2010. The report goes on to say Knopp’s medical records show that his glaucoma had caused “irreversible optic nerve damage and visual field defects in both eyes.”
“This by no means the end of the report,” said Clint Johnson, National Transportation Safety Board Alaska office chief. “We’re not drawing any conclusions at this point right now. This is just a factual data dump of everything that’s been done up to this point.”
The lawsuit from William Hulsey is claiming damages of over $75,000. Rogers, a guide, was not named in the suit.
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