Small-Town Ozona Shaken From Plane Crash

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

OZONA - On Thursday, a town of only a few thousand, tucked away in West Texas, was shaken with the deaths of several of their own.

Three people died in a plane crash in San Juan County, Utah on Wednesday, including 28-year-old Kyle Richardson and his father, Wade Richardson.

For unknown reasons, their single-engine Cessna went down shortly after lifting off.

They were found early Thursday morning.

The Richardson's are a well-known family in Ozona with Wade owning the local Dairy Queen and several others across West Texas.

"I think a lot of people are still in shock. I was in shock when I found out this morning," Melissa Perner, Editor for The Ozona Stockman Newspaper, said. "We're such a small community. We're only about 3,000 people here in Ozona. Everybody knew them. A lot of people worked with them or worked for them at some time so it's just heartbreaking. It's very heartbreaking that this has happened."

As NewsWest 9 found out in Ozona, the Richardson family not only touched the lives of people on the street but also local businesses and local schools as well.

Jerri Lynnfierro said she had been a substitute teacher for every one of the Richardson children.

"Any time we need Dairy Queen incentives, coupons or ice cream tokens, anything that we need with the school, they're always there," she said.

When word reached Ozona Middle School on Thursday morning, Lynnfierro saw many teachers rush from the school to the family's side.

"The lead teacher that I work with had just told me that this is why everybody is leaving, the sadness," she said. "We didn't have time for it to settle. It's just now sinking in."

The family's attorney politely asked NewsWest 9 to give the family their space which we were more than happy to oblige.

Regardless of what the investigation reveals, folks in Ozona said their thoughts and prayers go out to the Richardson's who are more than neighbors to them.

They're more like family.

"My phone was ringing off the hook when I left my house this morning. Lots of people are asking us about funeral arrangements," Perner said. "I know the people in Ozona will be very giving to them because that's what Ozona does. When something like this happens, we all rally around and we do anything we can to try to help."