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Mon, Dec 22, 2008

Republican IT Expert Lost In Ohio Saratoga Crash

Non-Profit Group Suspects Foul Play, Calls For Complete Investigation

A Piper Saratoga on approach to the Akron-Canton Airport (CAK) about 6 pm Friday went down about three miles short of the runway, taking the life of Michael Connell, the pilot and sole occupant of the plane.

Nearby resident Taylor Fano heard the crash and said, "It blew up and shook the ground a little bit. I was standing in the kitchen and I looked out the window and all I saw was fire," the Akron Beacon Journal reported.

"It took out the flagpole and the cement blocks surrounding the flagpole like a little planter," Fano said. "It skidded across the driveway and right in between a line of pine trees and a small fence around an in-ground pool."

Capt. Lorin Geiser of the Greentown Fire Department said he arrived on the scene about three minutes after the crash was reported to 911 operators. The wrecked plane was fully engulfed in flames, which were quickly extinguished.

The 1997 PA-32R-301T, registered to Richfield corporation Sierra-November Aviation, was enroute from College Park, MD to Akron on an IFR flight plan. Kristie Van Auken, spokeswoman for Akron-Canton Airport, said the plane (file photo of type shown below) was on final approach to Runway 23 when it went down, and there were reports of freezing rain in the area at the time of the accident.

As is customary, the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating... but the circumstances of the accident have already generated some conspiracy-minded intrigue.

Non-profit group Velvet Revolution is suspicious of the accident, and has demanded the Ohio Attorney General and the United States Justice Department conduct a complete investigation into Connell's activities to determine whether there was any foul play in his death.

Connell, 45, was an IT expert in the current Bush Administration. The group claims he was "directly implicated" in the alleged rigging of George W. Bush's 2000 and 2004 election results, under the direction of Karl Rove. The group claims Connell was about to "tell all" about his work for Bush... and that threats had been made against the lives of Connell and his wife, Heather.



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