Stewart statement on Lathram, Hendrick tragedy

Statement from Tony Stewart Regarding Scott Lathram and Hendrick Motorsports Tragedy PADUCAH, Ky., (October 26, 2004) - Scott Lathram, the helicopter pilot for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Tony Stewart, was amongst the 10 people killed when...

Statement from Tony Stewart Regarding Scott Lathram and Hendrick Motorsports Tragedy

PADUCAH, Ky., (October 26, 2004) - Scott Lathram, the helicopter pilot for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Tony Stewart, was amongst the 10 people killed when the Hendrick Motorsports plane they were traveling in crashed Sunday en route to Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

Lathram, age 38, had been Stewart's helicopter pilot since last October upon his retirement from the Kentucky State Police. The Paducah native was a state trooper for 16 years while also serving in the Army Reserve as an Apache helicopter pilot for the 8th Battalion, 229th Aviation Regiment. Lathram and his Fort Knox, Ky.-based unit participated in Operation Desert Storm in 1991, and Lathram was set to re-join his unit today, as it had already begun serving in Iraq. Lathram was given a bereavement leave following the death of his father Sept. 24.

Lathram is survived by his wife of 15 years, Tracey, and their three children - twin boys Zach and Eli, ages 16, and daughter Allyson, age 14. Funeral arrangements have not been set, but a trust fund has been established for the family. Contributions can be sent to: Scott Lathram Memorial Fund, c/o Heritage Bank, P.O. Box 525, Benton, KY, 42025.

The following is a statement from Tony Stewart regarding the loss of his friend and employee:

"Scott Lathram was a great friend, a respected employee and one of the best helicopter pilots in the country. Our trust and faith in him never wavered, because his commitment to service and safety was unmatched. He was also one of the most loyal people I've ever met, not just to me and my employees, but to his country.

"Scott was prepared to go back to Iraq, as his army reserve unit had been called up to active duty. I'll never forget him telling me that he had to return to Iraq. He was only about six months into his job here with me, and he was worried about making sure that I was all set before he had to go. I told him not to worry about me, that the most important thing for him was to look out for his wife and kids. But it just showed me how much Scott cared about everyone around him, especially when his immediate future meant participating in something that most of us will only see on television.

"And what I'll remember the most about Scott and probably miss the most was his sense of humor. No matter how bad a day you were having, a quick one-liner from Scott and the next thing you knew you were laughing. He turned bad days into good days and good days into great days.

"We've lost a really great person, and our deepest sympathies go out to his wife Tracey and their three kids.

"Our condolences also go out to the Hendrick family as they deal with this tragic loss."

-tsm-

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About this article
Series NASCAR , General
Drivers Tony Stewart
Teams Hendrick Motorsports
Article type Obituary