Drummer claims Learjet was faulty
Punk musician Travis Barker on Friday sued companies linked to a plane that crashed in South Carolina, injuring him and killing two friends.The former Blink-182 drummer sued the plane’s owners, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., and an airplane maintenance company, seeking more than $25,000 in damages. Barker’s suit claims the companies improperly operated and maintained the Learjet that overshot a runway and burst into flames on Sept. 19 in South Carolina. The crash killed two pilots, Barker’s assistant, Chris Baker, and Barker’s bodyguard, Charles Monroe Still Jr. Barker is seeking damages for pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of earnings, and medical and legal expenses. Still’s mother, Thelma Martin Still, joined Barker in the lawsuit and is suing the companies for damages including grief and sorrow, funeral expenses and loss of earnings. Barker and celebrity disc jockey DJ AM were both injured in the crash. The pair had performed together the night of the crash and were flying back to Los Angeles. The lawsuit alleges that the Learjet was “defective” and faults the plane’s pilots, claiming they were improperly trained and should have tried to take off rather than continue down the runway. The jet was owned by Global Exec Aviation, a Long Beach, Calif.-based charter company. Along with Global Exec, others named in the lawsuit are Goodyear; Toronto-based Bombardier Inc., which the suit claims was responsible for maintaining the aircraft; and two charter firms that brokered the flight, Clay Lacy Aviation Inc. and Inter Travel and Services Inc. In a statement, Goodyear spokesman Ed Markey said it was “unfortunate” the suit was filed before the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation was finalized. “While the tires may have been involved, it is too early to speculate on a cause,” said Markey. “The performance of the tire is dependent on how the tire was used,if it was properly maintained and whether it was damaged before the accident.” Messages left for Global Exec Aviation and Bombardier were not returned Friday. Aviation authorities have said cockpit recordings indicated the jet’s crew thought a tire had blown during takeoff. NTSB officials have said pieces of tire were recovered about 2,800 feet from where the plane started its takeoff down the 8,600-foot runway.