Family, friends mourn crash victim
BLACK HAWKLongtime Carbondale resident and businessman Barry Maggert, a recent unsuccessful Town Council candidate and Valley Journal columnist for the past four years, died Thursday when his single-engine plane crashed in the mountains outside Black Hawk about 40 miles west of Denver. Maggerts younger brother, PGA tour member Jeff Maggert, confirmed that Barry was the pilot of the plane and that he had died in the crash, according to published reports. Jeff Maggert withdrew from The Players Championship late Thursday, telling tournament officials that his Carbondale brother had died in a small plane crash in Colorado en route to his sons college graduation.The Maggert Family would like to thank everyone for their love, support, prayers and condolences, Renee Maggert said in a prepared statement forwarded to local media Friday afternoon by a family friend in Carbondale. A celebration of Barrys life is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, May 15. Time and location are to be announced.Maggert, 55, and a 23-year-old passenger believed to be a family friend were reportedly on their way to a graduation for Maggerts son, Lee Barry Maggert, in Boulder when the crash happened near Black Hawk shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday. Officials had not confirmed the identity of the passenger.The pair had departed from the Glenwood Springs Airport earlier in the day. The plane is owned by Winkmaggair LLC, and is registered to Maggert, and Carroll Winkler of Glenwood Springs. Mike Fergus, a spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA), Northwest Mountain Region, in Renton, Wash., said Maggerts last radio contact was made from a position about 15 miles southwest of Boulder, at an altitude of 16,000 feet above sea level.The pilot reported engine trouble and said he was losing altitude, Fergus said. After that, Maggerts plane quickly dropped off radar. When Maggert reported his position, the FAA replied, telling him to fly at a specific heading. The FAA did not receive a reply to that transmission, Fergus said.At 3:45 p.m. one of the people on the plane reported the crash and supplied a GPS location via cell phone, Fergus continued.Fergus said Maggert was flying in IFR (instrument flight rules) conditions, weather circumstances that make visual navigation difficult or impossible, requiring navigation by instrument. He said this does not necessarily mean that the ill-fated plane was in a storm, but that was certainly a possibility. Maggert was certified for flying by instrument.Maggert was a regular columnist for The Valley Journal, penning his libertarian viewpoints with his monthly missive Live & Let Live for the past four years. He previously chaired the Garfield County Libertarian Party and made a third unsuccessful run for a Carbondale Town Trustee seat in April. He was also a former Libertarian candidate for Congress and the Colorado State House in the late 1990s.He owned Maggert & Associates Engineers in Carbondale.A graduate of the University of Texas, Maggert and his family have been in Carbondale for 22 years. He leaves behind his high school sweetheart and wife of 25 years, Renee Maggert, and three sons, twins Lee and Bryant, 23, and Taylor, 21.Obviously, this is a shock to everybody, said friend and business associate Rock Leonard, who owns the building where Maggerts engineering firm is located. Its something you wouldnt expect to happen to him; he was always so careful with everything he did.Carbondale Town Councilman John Foulkrod supported Maggert in his recent bid for one of the open trustee seats and was a personal friend and occasional golf and bridge club partner as well.He was just a good guy, Foulkrod said. He was a good father, and coached his kids in baseball when they were younger. He really kind of wanted to be elected but not everyone agreed with his politics.Drew Sakson, Maggerts close friend and an associate in the Libertarian Party, said, This is a real blow to the Libertarian Party locally. Hes been a great voice for the Libertarian model of government.His column had a very different spin than what we hear from the regular media, Sakson continued.Sakson said despite Maggerts lack of success in electoral politics, his message was getting out, and each time he ran for office, he got more votes.He picked up the ball and moved it forward, he said.His wife asked that, in lieu of flowers, a memorial donation be made to one of the following organizations that aided in the rescue and recovery: Federal Aviation Administration, Gilpin County Sheriffs Office, Gilpin Victim Services, Central City Police Department, Black Hawk Police Department, Gilpin Search and Rescue, Alpine Search and Rescue, Rocky Mountain Search and Rescue, Central City Fire Department, Black Hawk Fire Department, Civil Air Patrol, Colorado National Guard, Airlife, and Gilpin Ambulance.Their kindness, compassion, and dedication is beyond our imaginations, Renee Maggert said.Officials said a Blackhawk helicopter was used to lower rescuers to the site of the crash because of the rough terrain and that the 23-year-old survivor was flown to St. Anthonys Hospital in Denver. According to reports, the passenger was able to call 911 on a cell phone after the crash to alert emergency officials. Due to the rugged terrain, rescue workers were unable to retrieve Maggerts body Thursday, but planned to plow a road into the area Friday.The Federal Aviation Administration has been called in to investigate the accident.Gilpin County Sheriffs Office spokeswoman Cherokee Blake said snow several feet deep must be cleared before rescue workers can extract the body. She anticipated that might happen by early afternoon.Alpine Rescue Team spokesman Bill Barwick said about 50 people, some on snowmobiles, helped the rescue effort in mountainous terrain at 10,400 feet. He said the sheriffs office was waiting for daylight and better weather Friday to bring down the body.
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Another hot, dry month in the Roaring Fork Valley has got firefighting officials on high alert.