Ga. businessman, wife killed in Miss. plane crash

Published 3:00 pm Thursday, October 28, 2010

An Atlanta businessman and his wife were killed in a plane crash Tuesday in northeast Mississippi while they were coming home after watching their college-age daughter play in a golf tournament.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the single-engine Beachcraft Bonanza was traveling from Olive Branch, Miss., to DeKalb-Peachtree Airport in Georgia when it went down in Alcorn County, Miss.

Alcorn County Coroner Dan Leeth said James “Jim” Judson Jr., and his wife, Elizabeth Judson, were killed. Judson Jr., was a successful businessman in the Atlanta area and member of the Wake Forest University Board of Trustees.

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The Judsons were in Olive Branch to watch their daughter, a University of Southern Mississippi student, in the tournament in nearby Memphis, Tenn., Jim Judson Sr. told The Associated Press.

“They were both very successful people,” the elder Judson said in a telephone interview. He said the family is pulling together, “but this is so sad. So sad.”

Leeth said the victims’ bodies would be taken Wednesday to Jackson, where the FAA would oversee autopsies.

Derrick Hill, the Olive Branch airport’s assistant manager, said a fuel purchase indicates Judson Jr. landed at the airport Sunday after flying in from Georgia.

Hill said the plane took off Tuesday morning. Winds were blowing about 30 mph when the plane departed, he said, and shifted from the south to a more westerly direction later as a front passed through the area.

Leeth said it was still unclear what caused the accident.

“It appears that the plane disintegrated in the air for some reason,” he said.

Judson Jr. made a fortune when he sold his computer software company, Witness Systems Inc., his father said. He also served on the board of directors of CreditHawk LLC, according to the company’s website. A message left with CreditHawk was not immediately returned.

Jim Judson Sr. described his son as a fun-loving businessman who was active in the Catholic church and enjoyed sharing his wealth with charities.