Two married couples from Weber County died Wednesday afternoon when a small plane crashed on Interstate 15 near Riverdale Road, the Utah Department of Public Safety said.
The victims were Layne Clarke, 48, and Diana Clarke, 46, of Taylor, an unincorporated area south of Marriott-Slaterville; and Perry Huffaker, 45, and Sarah Huffaker, 42, of West Haven, according to the DPS. Layne Clarke had been piloting the plane, DPS spokesman Todd Royce said.
The four had planned to fly to Island Park, Idaho, for a vacation, Royce said.
Perry Huffaker was Ogden’s parks manager, according to a Facebook post from Ogden Pioneer Days. He had served as the Ogden representative on its Pioneer Days rodeo committee, which had just wrapped its 2017 event.
“He was dedicated to his family, his work, and his community,” the Facebook post stated. “Perry was a vital part of our organization, and we’ll miss him tremendously.”
The plane — a single-engine Beech A36 Bonanza — took off from the Ogden-Hinckley Airport, then crashed about a half-mile away, confirmed Allen Kenitzer, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.
At about 1 p.m., the plane hit the median of I-15, where it burst into flames.
Randy Paulson told KUTV reporters that the plane was traveling south, “trying to gain altitude.”
He estimated that the plane was about 300 feet in the air when the engine made a “superloud sound” and fell toward the interstate.
“It was a big black solid red ball of fire,” Paulson told KUTV. “There’s no way you could’ve survived it.”
Truck driver Obdulio Ruiz said it appeared that the pilot was trying to land the plane on the freeway just before the crash, according to The Associated Press.
The crash closed the northbound lanes of I-15 and all but one southbound lane for seven hours, DPS tweeted.
The Utah Department of Transportation opened lanes at 8 p.m., leaving one southbound and one northbound track closed to clean up debris, Royce said.