Lee Barry Maggert was planning to follow in the footsteps of his engineer father, Barry Maggert, who died Thursday afternoon after the small plane he was piloting to Boulder to celebrate his son's graduation from the University of Colorado crashed, a family friend said Friday.
Barry Maggert, 47, was an unpaid columnist for the Carbondale Valley Journal and in 1988 opened Maggert & Associates Engineers in the town.
John Stroud, editor and general manager of the paper, said Maggert was hopeful his son Lee would join the company one day.
"He said, 'I might just have to hire my son,'â Stroud recalled. "I guess he was following in his footsteps.â
The Gilpin County Sheriff's Office on Friday confirmed Maggert, 47, of Carbondale, died when the Cessna 182H he was flying from the Glenwood Springs Airport crashed in Miner's Gulch, four miles west of Black Hawk.
His son's friend, 23-year-old Jonathan Holton, was also onboard the plane and was flown by helicopter Thursday to St. Anthony Central Hospital in Denver, sheriff's spokeswoman Cherokee Blake said.
Holton was treated for a broken ankle and released from the hospital on Friday, hospital officials confirmed.
Maggert's brother, professional golfer Jeff Maggert, withdrew from the Players Championship in Florida when he heard the news and flew to Colorado on Friday, the Associated Press reported.
On Friday, RenÃ©e Maggert, Maggert's wife, sent a prepared statement to the Valley Journal.
"The Maggert Family would like to thank everyone for their love, support, prayers and condolences,â she said, additionally calling the compassion of rescue workers "beyond our imaginations.â
Their son, Lee Maggert, graduated Friday from CU's College of Engineering & Applied Sciences with a degree in architectural engineering. His twin brother, 23-year-old Bryant Maggert, graduated from CU in December with a degree in film studies, CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard said.
Hilliard on Friday said he was not aware of any CU officials having contact with the Maggert family, but he said the school's grief counselors and other resources would be made available if they request help.
Yungping Xi, a professor within the engineering college who had Lee Maggert as a student this year, said he's ambitious and has a "strong interest in mechanics.â
"There were only had 16 students in the class and they were all good, including Lee,â Yungping said on Friday.
Â 'Colorful character'
Stroud, the Carbondale editor, said Maggert was a former chairman of the Garfield County Libertarian Party and wrote a column that expressed those political views entitled "Live and Let Live.â
"He was a pretty colorful character,â Stroud said. "He was definitely a little out of step with the mainstream political viewpoint in Carbondale.â
Stroud said Maggert was active in local politics, having run an unsuccessful campaign for the 3rd Congressional District seat in 1998, and later losing a bid for the Colorado House of Representatives and three tries for a seat on the Carbondale Board of Trustees.
"He brought a decidedly different perspective to the local political scene,â Stroud said.
According to a Web site for Maggert's Congressional campaign, dismantling the Internal Revenue Service was his top priority as a politician.
"I do not believe that my labor or life belongs to my government, instead I believe that my government belongs to me,â he wrote then.
Maggert's profile on the site says he married his high school sweetheart, RenÃ©e, 25 years ago and the couple has a third son, 21-year-old Taylor Maggert. The family moved to the Roaring Fork Valley and Carbondale three years after the twins were born.
Maggert was a graduate of the University of Texas, and worked to design private residences, commercial properties and bridges primarily along the Western Slope, according to the Web site, and enjoyed cave exploring, snowboarding, hiking, rafting and golf.
Rough terrain Â
Bulldozers and other heavy equipment had to clear a road to the site of the plane crash Friday morning and afternoon to recover the body. The Gilpin County Coroner's Office has since transported the body to the Jefferson County morgue to determine the cause of death.
The terrain is so rough and the road so covered with snow that the heavy equipment was needed to open up a route for recovery crews, officials said.
The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration was at the crash site Friday to begin its investigation into the cause of the crash, officials said.
On Thursday, rescuers aboard snowmobiles, snowcats and horses struggled to reach the plane but never made it.
Eventually, a Black Hawk helicopter from Buckley Air Force Base dropped three rescuers near the crash site, which is between 10,000 and 10,500 feet above sea level.
The fixed-wing single-engine Cessna 182H is 43 years old, and registered to Barry Maggert and Carroll Winkler of Glenwood Springs.
After the crash, someone aboard the plane was able to call 911 on a cell phone, an FAA spokesman said.
The plane reported having engine problems shortly before it went down, according to the FAA.
Camera Staff Writer Jennifer Bronson, the Rocky Mountain News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.