Widow of Pastor Killed in Crash Sues Church and Owner of Aircraft

Times Staff Writer

The family of the Rev. Richard A. Petersen of Irvine, the Assembly of God minister killed in a plane crash near Rosamond last June, filed suit Tuesday, claiming negligence on the part of the church’s district council, the owner of the aircraft and the pilot led to Petersen’s death.

The Orange County Superior Court action, seeking unspecified general and punitive damages, was filed on behalf of Petersen’s widow, Catherine; his son, Nathan, 8, and daughters, Krista, 6, and Erin, 1.

Petersen and a colleague, the Rev. Dwight Westover, died when the single-engine Cessna 152, piloted by Westover, crashed in high winds, fog and light rain on the night of June 6.

The wreckage was spotted the next morning in the Tehachapi foothills of Kern County, about 20 miles west of Rosamond.


The men were en route to Bakersfield to address a meeting of Assembly of God ministers.

Besides the estate of Westover, the Petersen family’s wrongful-death suit names as defendants the Southern California District Council of the Assembly of God and Aero-Flite Center, owner of the Cessna.