WEINER — The victims who died Monday in a rural Poinsett County airplane accident, have been identified as Sean Stem, 52, and Nickoles Warren, 41, both of Jonesboro, Sheriff Kevin Molder announced Thursday afternoon.
While their next-of-kin were notified after a “community identification” at the scene, County Coroner Butch Davis said their bodies were transported Monday to the state medical examiner’s office for positive identification. This was done so following a request from the National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the fatal crash.
“Local authorities will release the names and medical conditions of the aircraft’s occupants. … Neither (federal) agency identifies people involved in aircraft accidents,” FAA public affairs specialist Elizabeth Cory told The Sun on Monday.
In Molder’s Thursday statement, he noted that Stem was piloting the plane and Warren was a passenger. According to an FAA database, Stem was certified to fly single- and multi-engine airplanes.
The Hawker Beech twin-engine plane was headed from Jonesboro to Conway and crashed just before 9:30 a.m. during takeoff, a NTSB representative told The Sun.
Local dispatchers learned of the crash at 9:44 a.m., Molder previously stated. The wreckage was found in a field just off Flag Slough Lane between Weiner and Grubbs.
Stem was the president of Jonesboro-based Construction Network Inc. Warren was a franchisee of Tommy’s Express Car Wash, online sources show.
Jonesboro Mayor Harold Copenhaver referred to Stem as his friend during a Tuesday council meeting.
“He was a civic leader and our prayers go out to the Stem family. Sean was involved in our community and he also represented us on committees as well,” Copenhaver said.
NTSB is investigating the cause of the accident with the assistance of FAA’s on-scene documentation. As of Thursday afternoon, a preliminary report notes that the totaled plane “crashed under unknown circumstances and caught fire.”
“The family and friends of those who perished in this crash are in our thoughts and prayers,” Molder said.
Northeast Arkansans can submit witness reports or relay information to investigators at firstname.lastname@example.org.