FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — The pilot who was killed after his small plane crashed Wednesday in northwest Arkansas has been identified as former Mississippi state Sen. Johnny Morgan, authorities said.
A family member confirmed Morgan, 76, of Oxford, Mississippi, was the only person aboard the twin-engine Beech King Air E-90 plane that crashed in southern Washington County, the sheriff’s office said in a post on Facebook. His body will be sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab, the post said.
Crews found the aircraft’s wreckage about 3:46 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, which, along with the National Transportation Safety Board, will investigate the crash.
The plane departed University-Oxford airport about 11:30 a.m. and apparently lost altitude before crashing on private property near Winslow. Morgan reportedly notified officials, saying he heard a sputtering sound shortly before air traffic control lost contact at 12:34 p.m., authorities said.
Morgan served in the Mississippi state Senate from 1983 to 1991. He also served as a Lafayette County, Mississippi, supervisor for eight years, beginning in 2003. He lost his bid for a third term in the Democratic primary in 2011. In addition, he and business partner David White founded the Morgan White Group, based in Ridgeland, Mississippi, in 1987. The group and its subsidiaries operate several businesses in the insurance and payroll industries.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, in a tweet Wednesday, said Morgan “was perhaps the most fiercely loyal person I ever met.”
Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann also posted on Twitter that he and Morgan had met the previous evening in Oxford.
“Today, he is the victim of a tragic accident,” Hosemann posted. “Our state and Johnny’s legions of friends have lost laughter, a warm smile, a brilliant businessman and a community and political leader.”
Morgan is best known around the state for hosting the annual “Good Ole Boys and Girls” event in his tractor shed. Since its founding nearly 25 years ago, it has become a must-attend for anyone with political aspirations seeking votes in north Mississippi.