Steve Barnes has reportedly died, with reports on Friday indicating that the New York lawyer who worked at the firm Cellino & Barnes and gained national attention for the firm’s catchy television jingle was killed in a plane crash.
Reports on Friday indicated that he was piloting a plane that went down close to Buffalo.
Plane Crash Reportedly Killed A Man And Woman
— Jeannie McBride (@jeanniemcbride_) October 2, 2020
Barnes was with another family member in the airplane that went down in Genesee County, Tom Puckett of WBEN shared on Friday.
“BREAKING: sources tell @NewsRadio930 attorney Steve Barnes and a family member died when the aircraft Barnes was piloting crashed in Corfu. Sheriff says no survivors,” he reported on Twitter.
The New York Post reported that police had yet to positively identify the two people said to have been killed in the crash, but noted that a source at his law firm and another lawyer both confirmed that he was piloting the craft at the time it went down. The other person was identified as a female relative, but there was not yet a positive identification.
The report added that the aircraft was a single-engine, propellor-powered Socata TBM 700 with seating for six people that had departed from Buffalo and was en route to Manchester, New Hampshire. The reason for the trip was not immediately known.
The attorney had a strong presence across western New York, and his former firm had also established a foothold in the New York City metro area, with a number of billboards showing their faces.
Word of his fatal crash attracted some viral interest on Twitter after the news broke, as a series of initially unconfirmed reports indicated that he was the one flying the aircraft when it went down.
He Had A Famously Bitter Breakup With Longtime Law Partner
The fatal accident came just months after a very public split between Barnes and Ross Cellino. As the New York Post added, the pair parted ways after a three-year court battle that finally ended in June.
“The notorious legal battle erupted in 2017 when lawyer Ross Cellino Jr. filed suit to break away from longtime law partner Stephen Barnes in an apparent disagreement over the company’s future,” the newspaper noted.
The report noted that the pair were famous for the catchy “Don’t wait! Call 8!” commercial jingle and memorable phone number that included all eights. It was unclear which of the two associates retained the number during their split, the outlet added.
Their battle included allegations from Barnes’ longtime attorney girlfriend, who claimed that the former partner was withholding close to $1 million in legal fees that she was owed for her work on a case. That legal dispute was settled as the two sides came to an agreement on their respective futures.
Neither of the partners spoke about the split, though the drama played out on a national stage. The protracted court proceedings between the two attracted headlines and was even the subject of an off-Broadway play called Cellino v. Barnes, the New York Post report said.