Sangamon County Coroner Cinda Edwards, her husband Frank Edwards who was a former mayor of Springfield, their family dog Lily and an unnamed passenger died in a plane crash southeast of Springfield as the plane tried to land at the nearby Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport.
The twin-engine Piper Aerostar made a loud “boom” on impact, according to eye witnesses in the area of White Timer Road on the southeast edge of Springfield around 3PM Tuesday afternoon. Area homes were checked an evacuated after the plane caught fire after impact. Sangamon County Sheriff Jack Campbell says no one was able to approach the plane at first due to the flames. The Rochester Police Department, the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office, Capital Airport Safety, the Sangamon County Coroner’s Office, the Federal Aviation Administration and Springfield Police were among the first crews to respond to the scene.
The plane reportedly departed from Huntsville, Alabama at about 12:20 Tuesday afternoon after refueling, according to WICS Newchannel 20. The Sangamon County Sheriff said during a press conference that the airport tower and pilot recorded that the plane was having trouble due to the weather and the plane’s instruments prior to impact.
State Senator Andy Manar released a statement shortly after the announcement of the crash: “My heart breaks for the families of those involved in this tragedy. Cinda and Frank Edwards were devoted public servants to the communities of Springfield and Sangamon County. I ask everyone to join me in sending heartfelt condolences to the Edwards family.”
Cinda Edwards had served as Sangamon County Coroner after being appointed to the position in 2011 after previous coroner Susan Boone had been asked to resign. She had previously served as Chair of the Lincoln Land Community College Board of Trustees.
Frank Edwards served as the Mayor of Springfield from December 28, 2010 to April 29, 2011. He was appointed to the post after previous mayor Tim Davlin committed suicide. Edwards returned to be an alderman after Frank Houston’s election the following year. He tried unsuccessfully to become mayor once again in 2019, but lost to Democrat incumbent Jim Langfelder. Prior to his work as alderman and mayor, Frank Edwards was Fire Chief of Springfield for two years.