Family of Austin crash victim speaks out

By Matt Horton bio | email

ORANGEBURG, SC (WCSC) - The brother-in-law of Vernon Hunter, the Orangeburg native killed in a plane crash in Austin, TX Thursday, said he's getting by on the strength of his surviving family.

"A lot has been lost.  As a family, we will find a way to deal with it," said Louis Haywood.  "[As family], we can't explain everything that happened but [Vernon] will always be part of our lives.  We'll always remember him."

According to Haywood, Hunter was at work at an Austin-based IRS building on the 18th.  Just before two that afternoon, Haywood says he got a call from his sister, Hunter's wife, saying a plane had crashed into the building.  Reports would later confirm that Joseph Stack was the pilot and owner of the plane, which he had deliberately flown toward the building amidst a suicidal rage.

"I don't know the rest of what happened that day," said Haywood.  "All I know is what the news media put out, and I'm trying to absolve the rest."

Originally reported missing, Austin authorities state Hunters body was identified by his family on Saturday.  Since then, Haywood said he's been glued to all media coverage of the event, hoping to eventually make sense of the situation. "Sometimes in your family something happens and you revaluate your life and look back at things and know that nothing is absolute.  Anything can happen at any time," said Haywood.

A funeral has been planned during the upcoming week for Hunter, a Vietnam veteran and grandfather.  Haywood says if nothing else, he will always have memories of his brother-in-law. "The pain is there, but he lived a good life," said Haywood.  "There was a reason why he was the one chosen out of all the people in that building."

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