CREEDE— The Creede Early Learning Center (CELC) recently honored the victims of a plane crash that occurred last year. Center Board President Kristeen Lopez stated that due to an eyewitness account, the center wanted to recognize the pilot, Jere Ferrill, and his fallen crew for their last-minute efforts to avoid crashing into the daycare center. Parents and board members of the Creede Early Learning Center were joined by Lisa and Danielle Ferrill, wife and daughter of Jere, and longtime family friends, Colby and Beth, as CELC dedicated a memorial plaque in honor of the fallen pilot and crew that will hang on the newly built fence around the center.
“As parents, board members of the Creede Early Learning Center, and residents of Mineral County, we want to take this moment to recognize the loss of Jere Ferrill, Mykhayl Sutton and David Louwers. On June 15, 2016, the plane experienced an engine failure that caused a loss of power and ultimately the crash of the Cessna 320 twin engine just a few yards away from the early learning center. We will never know what happened in those last moments, but we believe a heroic effort was made to avoid the center, therefore in our minds, protecting the 14 children and three staff members inside. The value of a life is not in the sum total of physical wealth but rather the assimilation of moments—moments of generosity, kindness and selflessness.”
“Sometime circumstances bring people together. Mineral County is a unique tight-knit community where we all feel deeply the loss and suffering that your families have endured. We want to honor your family and the memories of those you’ve lost by placing this memorial plaque on our fence. May the smiles of young children welcome you to a place of healing. Lovingly, we keep you and yours part of our Creede Early Learning Center and the greater Mineral County family.”
The Cessna 320 passenger plane crashed south of Creede near the Creede Early Learning Center June 15, 2016 around 2:40 p.m. Local emergency crews responded to the scene of the crash within minutes of reports from the center. The plane had missed the center by yards, to the left of the Mountain View RV Park. Luckily the plane went down on the south side in a ravine near the Rio Grande River and could not be seen from either the center or the park.
Officials confirmed later in the day that there were three casualties of the wreck. Mineral County Coroner Charles Downing reported that the pilot Jere Ferrill, 51, from Castle Rock; David Louwers, 17; from Longmont and MyKhayl Sutton, 28, also from Longmont were pronounced dead at the scene.
In an interview the day after the fatal crash, Downing stated, “We want to express our sympathy to the families of those lost, but we are also aware of how lucky we were.” The Service Transportation Board and National Transportation Safety Board arrived on the scene early the next morning to begin investigations.
The plane was in the area taking survey pictures for Rocky Mountain Ariel Surveys out of Longmont.