All four victims in deadly neighborhood control have now been identified

EL CAJON, California – The remaining two victims killed in this week’s jet crash in unincorporated El Cajon were identified Wednesday by the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office.

The office said Julian Jorge Bugaj, 67, and Douglas James Grande, 45, died when their Learjet 35A plane crashed Monday night in the 1200 block of Pepper Drive. They were identified using “special fingerprinting techniques,” according to a county spokesman.

Two other victims, Tina Ward and Laurie Gentz, were not named by the office but have been confirmed as victims by organizations affiliated with them.

In a brief summary provided by the office, the process of identifying Ward and Gentz ​​- both listed as Jane Doe – continues before informing their families. They expect the two cases will take longer to resolve with one that could possibly be identified by dental records by the end of the week, and the other requires DNA testing that could take “several months.”

Gentz ​​was identified Wednesday morning as the local union president of the Massachusetts-based International Association of EMTs and Paramedics, the organization said in a post on social media.

“President Gentz ​​will be greatly missed by all who knew her and all who benefit from her selfless contribution to organized work in the San Diego area,” the post reads.

Ward, an in-flight flight attendant and wife of retired Oceanside Fire Vice Chief Joe Ward, was mourned in a social media post late Tuesday by Oceanside Firefighters Association 3736.

“We are shocked and saddened by this devastating news and keep you all in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” the union said.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are continuing their investigation into the accident. On Tuesday, an initial report from the NTSB found that the small jet crashed just over a mile from the approach end of the runway at Gillespie Field, which was its intended destination after taking off from John Wayne Airport in Orange County.

No one on the ground was injured in the accident. A home was damaged in the wake, and the result knocked out power to more than 2,500 San Diego Gas & Electric customers in the area.

As details continue to roll in about the crash, local aviation and aviation medical communities mourn the losses of the four victims.

Rick Mosteller, who has been a private pilot since he was 19 and has worked in the aerospace industry for more than 15 years, said: “We all come together as a family when an accident like this happens.”

“The community remains truly focused on pilot training, maintenance and weather avoidance to reduce risk,” Mosteller said.

Mosteller now runs the Cirrus Training Center with a focus on pilot training at Palomar Airport in Carlsbad. Although he did not know any of the crew aboard Monday’s tragic crash, he said he was still crushed because of the close-knit groups of people in their respective industries.

The loss has been felt throughout the San Diego community, with Mosteller saying, “Our hearts go out to their families.”


Give a Comment