News From Terre Haute, Indiana

December 3, 2012

Update: 4 killed when small plane crashes in SE Indiana

Associated Press

GREENSBURG, Ind. — The owner of a small plane that crashed in foggy and misty weather near a southeastern Indiana airport, killing all four people aboard, is an area businessman who is involved with the Roman Catholic Church.

The single-engine Piper is registered to Donald P. Horan, 46, who is listed the chief executive officer of Greensburg-based Collection Associates Inc., a collection service for the health care industry. A man answering the telephone at Horan’s home declined comment when contacted by The Associated Press, as did a woman who answered the phone at Collection Associates.

Greensburg police Capt. Bill Meyerrose said the plane originated from Destin, Fla. He told WTHR-TV in Indianapolis that the families of the victims have been notified, and they are well known in the community. The names were being withheld until National Transportation and Safety Board inspectors arrived to survey the crash scene sometime this afternoon, he said.

Greg Otolski, a spokesman for the Indianapolis archdiocese, said Horan is active in raising money for the church and serves on the Catholic Community Foundation that oversees $138 million in endowments, deciding where money is spent for parishes, schools, cemeteries and charities. He also is involved in raising money for a new St. Mary’s Catholic School in Greensburg, Otolski said.

“He’s a real faithful Catholic and good guy who has a lot of interest in helping the church raise funds for all its various ministries. He donated, in addition to his own money, a lot of his own time and expertise to try to make this possible. His wife, Barb, also was involved with him a few years back in overseeing an annual appeal our archdiocese has,” Otolski said.

A neighbor told The Indianapolis Star Horan is community-minded and generous.

“Don is a fantastic guy,” said Paul Walston, 84. “If it’s him, it’s a real tragedy. I’d heard he was traveling with his wife. His whole family is great. It’s pretty well known he gave a million dollars to help build a new Catholic school down here a few years back.”

The plane crashed Sunday evening about a mile from the Greensburg Municipal Airport. The Federal Aviation Administration says the plane had been cleared to approach the airport but never arrived. Someone called the sheriff’s department at 6:19 p.m. Sunday saying he believed he had seen a plane crash. The FAA said it had been tracking the plane and lost contact about two miles from the airport. The plane crashed in a wooded area about 40 miles southeast of Indianapolis.

Weather conditions hampered the search for the wreckage, which wasn’t found until about four hours, Meyerrose said.