Ypsi firefighter killed in plane crash

June 5, 2007 by  
Filed under News

(June 5, 2007) Long time Ypsilanti firefighter Richard LaPensee was killed in a plane crash Monday afternoon. LaPensee was one of six people killed when their Cessna Citation jet crashed into Lake Michigan just shortly after take-off from Milwaukee around 5pm Monday.

LaPensee, 48, had been with the Ypsilanti fire department for 14 years and attained the rank of Firefighter/EMT Basic. LaPensee was also a nurse and transplant donation specialist who routinely worked for the U-M.

LaPensee was part of a four person transplant team plus two pilots that worked for U-M Survival Flight. The team was on a mission to pickup organs from a hospital in the Milwaukee area. The flight was returning to Willow Run airport when it went down.

The Ypsilanti fire department is a very close knit group of full-time men and women firefighters. Ken Hobbs, president of Ypsilanti Firefighter’s Union said the news was devastating. As soon as they heard about the plane crash, Ypsilanti firefighters went to LaPensee’s home to be with his family.

This is the second time in two years that Ypsilanti has lost a firefighter. In 2005, Ypsilanti firefighter Brad Patton, along with his wife and one of his three children were killed in a motor vehicle crash while off-duty. Paton’s two other children were injured but survived the crash.

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