In-N-Out Officials, 2 Pilots Among the 5 Dead


Five men were on board a chartered twin-engine jet that spun and crashed in a fireball near the Santa Ana Auto Mall on Wednesday evening.

Killed along with Richard Snyder, president of In-N-Out Burger and an activist in political and philanthropic causes, were Philip R. West, Snyder’s boyhood friend and chief business assistant; Jack Sims, another friend of Snyder’s and a consultant to the company, and two veteran pilots, John Odis McDaniel and Stephen R. Barkin.

No information was available about Sims on Thursday.

Colleagues, friends and relatives of the other three victims were still in shock Thursday as they mourned the men who died in the accident.


Philip R. West

West, 37, grew up in Glendora with Snyder, and the two had been friends since childhood. Eventually, West went to work for the Snyder family company, and rose to the position of executive vice president, serving as the hamburger chain’s chief operating officer.

For years, he had lived near Snyder’s mother, Esther, in Glendora. But in anticipation of the company’s impending move to Orange County, West and his wife, Lori, moved to Irvine’s Turtle Rock neighborhood several months ago.

Friends said the couple planned to buy a house near Snyder’s in the Bayshores community of Newport Beach and that Esther Snyder hoped to move there as well.

“Phil West was Rich’s closest friend. They were childhood friends,” said one Orange County attorney who knows both men. “For Esther, it’s got to be like losing two sons. They were both just super guys.”

Sally Anne Sheridan, a former mayor of Irvine, was friends with both Snyder and West. Sheridan, who spoke with Lori West on Thursday morning, said the widow is wondering why West and Snyder broke their corporate policy of never flying on the same aircraft.

Lori West “has a feeling (her husband) changed flights in order to get back home to her and her son earlier,” Sheridan said. “She told me he always flew separately. She wants to know why he boarded that plane.”


At the Wests’ Irvine home Thursday afternoon, about a dozen friends and relatives, including several small children, mourned in a home decorated for a festive holiday. Two plastic snowmen decorated the front lawn and Christmas trees with gifts underneath stood both inside and outside the house.

The family declined to comment about West, referring all inquiries to the company. In-N-Out Burger officials also refused to release any information.

Stephen R. Barkin

Barkin, 46, piloted the ill-fated aircraft. He had worked for Management Activities, the Long Beach-based company that owned the airplane, for three years.

Born in New York, Barkin moved to Canyon Country four years ago. He attended Hofstra University in New York and the University of Minnesota. Friends and relatives said he enjoyed playing the piano and reading action-adventure novels.

“He was always up, very intelligent,” said Donna Chipperfield, a family friend who was taking telephone calls at the Barkin residence Thursday.

Barkin is survived by Jane Barkin, his wife of eight years; his parents, Irvin and Bea Barkin of Florida; his sister, Shellie Barkin of Sacramento, and two stepsons.


John Odis McDaniel

McDaniel, 49, a pilot who served as second-in-command on the Westwind 1124A corporate jet that crashed Wednesday, was a Renaissance man with an array of outdoor hobbies but a special love for flying.

He spent 20 years in the merchant marine, eventually serving as captain on supertankers that cruised from Valdez, Alaska, to Panama, and did aerobatics and stunt flying as a hobby. But in 1985, he launched a second career as a professional pilot, starting work at Martin Aviation in 1987.

“He was one of these Renaissance people, he could just do anything. When he took up something, he took it up with a vengeance,” said Helen (Heather) McDaniel, who was married to John McDaniel for 23 years and remained close friends with him after their divorce in 1991. “He loved life, just absolutely loved life. Anything he took up, he just became an expert at.

“He was a man who loved challenges. He was a man who lived to be the best that he could be, no matter what it was,” she said. “He was just the most alive person I know, and that’s why it’s so hard to believe. . . . It still has a sense of unreality about it.”

A native of Australia, McDaniel moved to Long Beach as a young boy and graduated from Millikan High School in 1962. He then attended the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo. For 14 years, he lived in Seal Beach with his wife and children, John, 22, and Timory, 20. He is also survived by his mother, Norma Kingman of Long Beach.

“We’re just still in unbelievable shock,” a sobbing Kingman said Thursday.

Helen McDaniel said her ex-husband adored surfing, windsurfing, skiing and yacht racing, but that flying was his ultimate love. “He just felt free up there,” she said.


Tim Carey, McDaniel’s best friend since his student days, called him “the most bighearted, friendliest guy in the world.”

“We surfed together, we played golf together, we played slow-pitch together . . . the main thing was we really raised our families together,” said Carey, who lives in Seal Beach. “He died doing what he wanted to do most of all. . . . He told me once that he loved flying more than anything else in the world.”

Times staff writers Michael Flagg, Greg Johnson and Mark Platte contributed to this report.