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Published: Tuesday, 7/29/2014 - Updated: 2 months ago

Pilot killed in crash had close call in 2012 flight

Family of passenger must wait for answers

BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Ralf Bronnenmeir and Tieasha McQuin were killed Sunday when a Lancair small aircraft crashed in Cass Township. Ralf Bronnenmeir and Tieasha McQuin were killed Sunday when a Lancair small aircraft crashed in Cass Township.
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FINDLAY — The manufacturing CEO whose plane crashed in Hancock County had experienced close calls in flight before.

Hancock County plane crash victim Tieasha McQuin. Hancock County plane crash victim Tieasha McQuin.
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Ralf Bronnemeier, of Findlay, was killed along with his passenger, Tieasha McQuin, 26, of Toledo, when his Lancair IV-P, a private plane, crashed at about 1 a.m. Sunday in a ditch near Hancock County roads 18 and 216 in Cass Township.

The plane was traveling from the West Michigan Regional Airport in Holland, Mich., to Bluffton, Ohio. Hancock County authorities continue to investigate the crash.

Mr. Bronnenmeier, whose age was unavailable, was the CEO of Grob Systems, an automotive company in Bluffton. He’s been with the company since 1994 and had been a member of Gov. John Kasich’s Executive Workforce Board since 2012. He received his pilot certificate in January, 2008, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

On June 4, 2012, Mr. Bronnenmeier had an incident while flying from Bluffton to Kissimmee, Fla. Mr. Bronnenmeier recounted on message boards that he heard a boom and lost cabin pressure.

He looked back and found the left rear window was missing, according to the message boards and FAA records.

“Popping ears that hurt, loud wind noise, and a girlfriend that seemed to squeeze my arm off,” Mr. Bronnenmeier wrote online. He noted that his flight bag and several sweaters must have flown out the window before he could land in Bluffton without further incident.

Officials at Grob Systems did not return a message Monday seeking comment.

Tieasha McQuin’s sister, Tomecia McQuin, 30, said Monday, “She was always smiling, always happy and in a good mood and she was very outgoing.” Tieasha McQuin had a 3-year-old-daughter, Mahkayla Sims.

Ms. McQuin said her sister and Mr. Bronnenmeier were “good friends” and had flown together previously.

“She’s very spontaneous and she loved to fly, so they were just enjoying themselves,” Ms. McQuin said. Ms. McQuin said the victim loved to spend time with her daughter and her best friend Jasmine Robinson.

Ms. McQuin said police came to her mother’s home Sunday morning after the crash and said Tieasha McQuin was a possible victim. Later they called and asked if Tieasha had a Winnie the Pooh tattoo on her stomach, which she did.

“It’s been real rough,” Ms. McQuin said. The sentiment was echoed by the victim’s aunt Lynn Phillips. “We’re trying to figure out what happened. We don’t know too much of what happened and what caused it to happen, but really we’re waiting on the investigation to be over.”

Contact Taylor Dungjen at tdungjen@theblade.com, or 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @taylordungjen.



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