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OSU plane crash victims’ families suing other victims’ estate


STILLWATER, Okla. — The families of two OSU women’s basketball coaches, who were killed in a plane crash, are now suing the estate of the other two victims on that plane.

In November of 2011, head coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna died when the single-engine plane they were in crashed during a recruiting trip in Arkansas. It was piloted by OSU graduate and long-time supporter Olin Branstetter.

His wife, Paula, also died in the crash. Budke’s wife, Shelley Budke, and Serna’s parents, John Serna and Nettie Herrera, are suing the Branstetter estate for an unspecified amount of money.

They filed a petition for damages last year in Kay County, where the Branstetter’s lived. The lawsuit says the “defendants negligently caused the crash of an aircraft” and they “had a duty to ensure that the aircraft was airworthy and safe for flight.”

The National Transportation Safety Board report noted the Branstetter’s plane had its annual inspection not long before the crash. Despite the lawsuit, their son says they don’t carry any bad feelings toward the other families.

“What we’ve said from day one is we want the truth,” Jack Branstetter said Wednesday, “And if the estate owes money, the estate will pay and we will accept that.  If the estate doesn’t owe money, then that’s the way that should end up, also.”

The plaintiffs and their attorneys did not return our calls. Olin Branstetter owned several oil and gas properties as well as real estate. The lawsuit in Kay County is pending.