A North Carolina family died in a plane crash Friday morning, May 8. The tragedy struck the Atlanta interstate as Grady “Greg” Byrd, a reserve sheriff’s deputy, attempted to take the small plane to a college graduation in Mississippi.
In a similar but unrelated report by the Inquisitr, Roberto Martinez-Marinero had confessed Wednesday to killing members of his family, including his mother and possibly his little brother. The 5-year-old may still be missing.
It is unknown why Byrd crashed into the interstate, where the single-engine, six-seat Piper PA-32 exploded, killing his dog, his fiancee, 27-year-old Jackie Kulzer, and his sons, Phillip and Christopher, 26 and 27, respectively. Greg and Jackie had planned to be married October 17, according to the Huffington Post.
Byrd and his family were on their way to the University of Mississippi in Oxford for his son Robert’s graduation. This information arrived via Nicholas Bowman, who worked with the would-be college graduate’s brother Christopher at a real estate firm before the fateful family plane crash.
“It was his on-call weekend and he was excited to go to his brother’s graduation. They had this trip planned so I swapped with him to be able to make the trip so he wouldn’t have to be bothered with work.”
It is unknown exactly what caused the plant to go down, though according to AJC, Greg had reportedly mentioned he was “going down.”
The initial flight to Atlanta had gone smoothly enough, and the plane had left in good weather. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating what caused the small plane to crash and burn on Interstate 285 shortly after 10 a.m.
Via WSB-TV, victims were identified as Christopher, Phillip, and Greg Byrd, and Jackie Kulzer, Christopher’s fiancee pic.twitter.com/UalW1fXVSs
— BlogAsheville (@BlogAsheville) May 9, 2015
Greg Byrd was a 16-year veteran of the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office, where he’d retired in 2006. He had extensive training as a pilot.
About his fiancee, Jackie Kulzer, St. Pius Catholic High School gave a statement after the family plane crash.
“Jackie is remembered as a wonderful young lady, a very popular, energetic, out-going individual that was always concerned about others. While at St. Pius she was a four-year member of the competition cheerleading squad, and many other campus organizations.”
Greg Byrd and his family will be missed by family and friends after this tragic end to what could have been a celebrated occasion.
[Image via WSB-TV]