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D.E.A. Agent Killed In Suburban Plane Crash

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June 01, 2004

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D.E.A. Agent Killed In Suburban Plane Crash

Officer Down: Terrance P. Loftus - [Homer Glen, Illinois]

Cessna Aircraft Hits Residential Garage

The Associated Press

HOMER GLEN, Ill. -- Terrance P. Loftus was an experienced pilot who had flown helicopters for the Army before joining the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in 1989, officials said.

Loftus, 44, of Plainfield, died on Friday when the aircraft he was flying slammed into a detached garage in the village of Homer Glen, the Will County coroner's office said. He was flying solo at the time of the accident and no injuries on the ground were reported, authorities said.

Loftus was hired as a special agent for the DEA in September 1989 and became a member of the DEA Airwing in 1999.

"Terrance was a very well-respected special agent and pilot," said Special Agent William Brown, who is in charge of the DEA's aviation division. "He knew as we all do that the job is a particularly dangerous one ... We're still very saddened by the loss of our colleague."

The Cessna airplane took off from Chicago's Midway Airport and crashed around 2:30 p.m. The plane was bound for St. Louis, DEA Administrator Karen Tandy said in a press release.

Loftus had reported engine trouble to Midway's control tower shortly before the crash, which occurred in a residential area about 30 miles southwest of Chicago. He tried to land in a nearby farmer's field, but he clipped a tree and crashed into the garage, Brown said.

Both the DEA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash. Preliminary reports point to engine failure as the cause of the accident, Brown said.

Loftus had logged about 2,000 hours of flight time and had experience flying the type of aircraft that crashed, Brown said.

Loftus is survived by his wife and three children.

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