Ex-lawyer Dickie Scruggs rode on plane before it crashed in Mississippi

Richard "Dickie" Scruggs

Dickie Scruggs said he was aboard the plane that later crashed in Union County.

Posted: Apr 16, 2019 11:22 AM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A high-profile former lawyer says he was a passenger on a twin-engine jet hours before it crashed in northern Mississippi, killing three people.

Richard "Dickie" Scruggs told the Clarion Ledger in a story published Monday that he and his family flew aboard the plane Saturday from Colorado back to their home in Oxford, Mississippi. Pilot Tommy Nix, his wife Merline Nix and co-pilot Jarrod Holloway left Oxford moments later to fly to Alabama's Marion County-Rankin Fite Airport.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Rick Breitenfeldt said the plane, a Rockwell Sabreliner 65, departed the University Oxford Airport at about 3 p.m. Saturday. Union County Sheriff Jimmy Edwards said his office received a call shortly after 5 p.m. Saturday that the plane had disappeared from radar.

Edwards said investigators found the wreckage at about 9:30 p.m. Saturday between New Albany and Blue Springs. He said all three aboard were killed.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.

Scruggs was a Navy pilot decades ago. He gained national prominence and became a multimillionaire with lawsuits against makers of asbestos and tobacco products in the 1990s. He spent time in federal prison and lost his law license after pleading guilty in 2008 in a Mississippi judicial bribery scheme.

Since his release from prison, Scruggs has described himself publicly as a "disbarred and disgraced trial lawyer" and has paid education expenses for adults who left high school without earning a diploma.

Scruggs told the newspaper that he learned about the plane crash Saturday when he got a text from an unknown number: "If this is Dickie Scruggs, please call me immediately."

Scruggs said he called the number. The man on the other end was a pilot who lived nearby, Scruggs said. The plane lost communication east of Oxford, he told Scruggs, and he was trying to figure out what happened. The pilot thought Scruggs was on the plane when it went silent.

Scruggs said Nix, who lived in Belmont, Mississippi, and Holloway, who lived in Booneville, Mississippi, were professional pilots. He said he had been on at least 50 to 100 flights with Nix as pilot and about a dozen flights with Holloway as pilot. He said Nix had taught Holloway to fly.

"They were really exceptional in their professionalism," Scruggs said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 98886

Reported Deaths: 2979
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7189161
DeSoto569464
Harrison394175
Jackson358570
Rankin337280
Madison334190
Lee293572
Forrest254275
Jones252780
Washington227879
Lafayette221240
Lauderdale2078126
Bolivar187370
Oktibbeha181952
Lamar176237
Lowndes160858
Neshoba1599104
Panola151631
Sunflower149146
Leflore143882
Warren141850
Pontotoc130116
Monroe125369
Pike124954
Copiah119933
Scott118027
Coahoma117530
Lincoln112353
Marshall111821
Grenada110136
Holmes110060
Yazoo106733
Simpson105847
Tate101938
Union101224
Leake96538
Adams94937
Wayne91521
Pearl River91453
Prentiss88418
Marion87537
Itawamba85921
Alcorn83411
Covington83223
George78513
Tallahatchie78324
Newton78124
Winston74619
Tishomingo71039
Tippah70518
Chickasaw69524
Attala67225
Clarke61149
Walthall60426
Clay59919
Hancock59822
Jasper58415
Noxubee55816
Smith55115
Calhoun52912
Tunica50015
Montgomery47020
Claiborne46516
Yalobusha44414
Lawrence43914
Perry43221
Quitman3905
Greene38917
Stone38013
Humphreys37715
Jefferson Davis34711
Amite34210
Webster33913
Carroll33112
Wilkinson30818
Kemper29115
Sharkey26714
Jefferson2439
Benton2333
Franklin1993
Choctaw1876
Issaquena1063
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 138162

Reported Deaths: 2405
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson20221352
Mobile13558295
Tuscaloosa9029118
Montgomery8894187
Madison800580
Shelby616450
Lee601761
Baldwin564052
Marshall398345
Etowah357545
Calhoun356944
Morgan334929
Houston295421
Elmore273948
DeKalb246121
St. Clair237937
Walker236987
Talladega219030
Limestone215720
Cullman192220
Dallas179926
Franklin179430
Autauga179127
Russell17903
Lauderdale175934
Colbert168426
Blount162915
Escambia162024
Jackson161112
Chilton160930
Dale141844
Covington141628
Coffee13936
Pike122011
Chambers117942
Tallapoosa117385
Clarke110916
Marion97629
Butler91740
Barbour8967
Winston75112
Marengo72820
Pickens67215
Randolph67213
Bibb66411
Lowndes65927
Hale65328
Geneva6505
Lawrence63625
Cherokee62013
Bullock61015
Clay5929
Monroe5928
Washington56012
Crenshaw54532
Perry5436
Conecuh53811
Wilcox53211
Henry5145
Macon48318
Fayette47311
Sumter43419
Cleburne4085
Lamar3822
Choctaw35212
Greene30615
Coosa1743
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