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Woman sues FAA over ex-husband’s deadly 2016 plane crash near Reno

A woman sued the U.S. government Sunday on behalf of her children, alleging the Federal Aviation Administration was at fault for a 2016 plane crash near Reno that killed their father.

James Elliker, 50, and the plane’s pilot, John Brown, 73, died Aug. 30, 2016, after Brown’s single-engine Beechcraft A-36 Bonanza crashed at a recreational vehicle park in Sparks about a half-mile from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport runway.

The National Transportation Safety Board released a report last year that stated a miscommunication between the pilot and the tower probably contributed to the crash.

The suit states that Brown was led to believe that he was second in line to land behind a Boeing 757, but the tower didn’t tell him another Boeing 757 was cleared to land second.

It states that the Bonanza and the second Boeing 757 attempted to land on parallel runways that were 700 feet apart at the same time.

According to the suit, FAA guidelines give priority to putting space between planes in the air. The guidelines state that small planes should be kept at least 4 nautical miles from commercial aircraft, but the Boeing 757 passed directly in front of the Bonanza with about a half-mile between them just before the crash.

The lawsuit was filed by Elliker’s ex-wife, Carrie Romo, on behalf of Elliker’s two minor children who are identified only by their initials. Her attorney, Matthew Sharp, said the aim of the suit is to compensate their kids.

“The recovery goes to the children; she has no financial stake in this,” he said.

Romo is seeking at least $75,000 in damages per child. She made an appeal to the FAA before the lawsuit was filed, but it was denied. Brown’s widow and two children filed a similar lawsuit in April.

The FAA does not comment on pending litigation.

Contact Max Michor at mmichor@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0365. Follow @MaxMichor on Twitter.

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