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By Kim Harris
Managing Editor 

Petaluma plane crash takes life of local man


Last updated 4/7/2018 at 5:29pm

Courtesy photo

A plane crash in a rural area of Sonoma County has claimed the life of a Fallbrook resident, according to social media reports.

Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Eddie Engram said he could not confirm the identity of the plane crash victim, but according to a Facebook post, attorney Carl Morrison was the pilot of the Mooney M20 fixed wing aircraft that crashed in the 3600 block of Manor Lane in Petaluma.

Engram said that the initial call was placed to his department from the U.S. Air Force regarding an emergency transponder activation from a small passenger plane in eastern Petaluma.

According to a press release issued by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department, around the same time, a woman from San Diego County had called Petaluma Police and reported her husband was overdue home. He was believed to have left the Petaluma Airport en route to San Diego County.

“We received the call from the Air Force and Petaluma received the call from the man’s wife,” Engram said. “Police from Petaluma checked the airport and we went to the area reported to us by the Air Force and began to try to locate the aircraft.”

Petaluma also requested San Diego Sheriff’s Department to check the pilot’s residence and the airport.

“Obviously, he wasn’t at the airport or at the home,” Engram said.

Deputies were not able to immediately locate the plane due to the remoteness of the area.

“We just had an area where it was, not an actual address,” Engram explained. “It’s a lot of land out there to cover.”

Engram said the plane was finally located at 10 p.m. while deputies conducted a door-to-door search.

“One of our deputies observed a fire in a remote ravine,” he said.

Deputies hiked to the location of the fire and found the downed aircraft and confirmed the fatality of one man believed to be the pilot.

Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department assumed the investigation and secured the scene due to “extreme weather and darkness.”

The National Transportation and Safety Board are expected to arrive on the scene of the crash today and investigate the cause of the crash.

While the pilot’s identity has not been officially confirmed by the Sonoma County Coroner’s Office, a Facebook posting by Pacific Region Civil Air Patrol Commander Col. Jon Stokes has identified him as Morrison, a retired U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Colonel, who earned his law degree at DePaul and an advanced degree in administrative law at George Washington University.

“It is with an extremely heavy heart that I report the passing of our friend, colleague and Region Vice Commander, Colonel Carleton Morrison. Col Morrison died late Friday evening at the controls of his personal aircraft outside of Petaluma, California,” Stokes wrote. “Col Morrison was the type of Airman that we should all aspire to be; dedicated, compassionate and always forward looking. He will be missed every day. Please keep his wife Mary, his children and grandchildren in your thoughts and prayers in the days and weeks to come.”


Reader Comments

jreeder writes:

Carl was a wonderful man. He will be truly missed. He was on the Fallbrook High School board when we started the paper and he has been a constant advertiser and supporter of Village News. He even defended us against the County when they wrongfully kicked out the kids and the charter school from our Elder House property, ultimately causing us to have to sell the property. Then the Civil Air Patrol, his family and church. Such a loss. Thank you Carl for everything. Prayers to Mary and the family.


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