A small plane carrying three people crashed into a heavily wooded area near Moorefield, West Virginia at around 9 p.m. on Oct. 2. The victims have been identified as Charles S. Armitage, Jr., 52, the president of Uncle Charley’s Sausage Company, his girlfriend, Laura Stettmier, 49, who was the co-owner of The Addison House Restaurant in Leechburg, Pennsylvania, and pilot Michael Garrone.
In 2005, Armitage assumed the presidency of Uncle Charley’s Sausage from his father and company founder Charles S. Armitage, Sr. He had previously served as vice president of operations and was well respected in the meat processing industry. He was recently recognized for contributions made during his reign as the national director of the American Association of Meat Processors from 2007-2010.
The group departed from the Grand Strand Airport in South Carolina after a trip to Myrtle Beach. It made a brief stop in Danville, Virginia, where one passenger got off. The plane departed and took off towards Johnstown, Pennsylvania around 7:30 p.m.
The plane reportedly dropped out of radio and radar contact while in weather bad enough to require the use of instruments, although the pilot was not instrument-rated. The wreckage was located by the Civil Air Patrol on Oct. 6 after rescue crews struggled to search the remote and rugged terrain, which included trees that were approximately 120 feet in height.