November 4, 2003 - Posted at 7:39 a.m. CDT
KANSAS CITY, MO - A Jackson County (MO) jury will be asked to decide whether an aircraft parts manufacturer was to blame for the death of Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan. He was killed along with his son Randy and long-time aide Chris Sifford in a plane crash south of St. Louis three years ago last month.
The Democratic governor was in the closing weeks of his campaign for the U.S. Senate seat then held by Republican John Ashcroft. His son was piloting the plane on the way from St. Louis to a campaign appearance in New Madrid when it crashed.
Carnahan's name remained on the ballot and after he outpolled Ashcroft, his widow Jean was appointed to the Senate seat, which she lost to Republican Jim Talent a year ago.
Mrs. Carnahan is one of the plaintiffs in the wrongful death lawsuit. The suit contends the crash resulted from failure of vacuum pumps designed and made by Cleveland-based Parker-Hannifin Corporation.
Jury selection for the trial started yesterday in Kansas City, with testimony expected to begin next week.