By Matthew Marx and Bill Bush
A dentist and a lawyer, both of Columbus and both fathers of two daughters, were killed and a Dublin man was critically injured after a single-engine plane crashed in Rock Hill, S.C., yesterday morning.
Bill J. Coulman, 49, of Coulman Dentistry in Worthington, and Eric A. Johnson, 43, of Sabath & Johnson law offices in Columbus, were killed shortly after 11 a.m. when Coulman¯s Beech V35 Bonanza crashed in a neighborhood of Rock Hill, about 15 miles southwest of Charlotte, N.C.
Matthew Sullivan, 24, a flight instructor and commercial pilot for Cardinal Health, was in critical condition with a broken neck at Carolinas Medical Center last night.
Johnson, who was learning to fly, was piloting the six-seat, single-propeller plane. Coulman, who has a private pilot¯s license, was sitting in the front passenger seat, investigators said. Sullivan was seated behind them.
The plane, built in 1971, was owned by Coulman, who kept it at Don Scott Field.
The men took off from there yesterday to take Johnson to Rock Hill for his 25 th highschool reunion next weekend, his wife, Susan, said last night. His parents still live there.
Coulman was taking some additional training in the use of the plane¯s weather instruments, Mrs. Johnson said.
Her husband was not yet licensed but "had been training on and off for a couple years," Mrs. Johnson said.
"I think Dr. Coulman was trying to encourage Eric to get with Matt for more lessons. My husband had told him about the reunion, and Dr. Coulman wanted them to fly down."
Her husband had met Coulman because the dentist had been a client of Mark Sabath, his law partner, Mrs. Johnson said.
"Over the years Eric and Dr. Coulman just became friends," she said.
She met her husband while he was in the Air Force, stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Base near Dayton. The couple had been married for 12 years.
Johnson attended The Citadel and went to law school at the University of Akron. He began practicing law in 1995.
A North Side resident, Johnson had two daughters from a previous marriage, Jena Johnson, 18, and Jamie Johnson, 16, both of Tampa, Fla., his wife said.
He was also a volunteer paramedic for Minerva Park¯s fire department, she said.
The plane had been fueled at Don Scott Field on Saturday, airport director Douglas Hammon said.
A sample of the type of fuel put in the plane is being sent to air-crash investigators to assist in the search for causes, Douglas Hammon said.
During a news conference last night, he described Coulman as an "avid aviator" and a big supporter of Ohio State University¯s airport.
Coulman, of the Northwest Side, began his career as a dental technician in 1978.
He graduated from the OSU dental hygiene program in 1980 and the College of Dentistry in 1991, according to his Web site.
Coulman¯s practice today has more than 14,000 patients, Brad Gilmer, a dentist who joined the staff two years ago, told The Rock Hill Herald.
Coulman¯s wife, Jane, is the office manager. Their two daughters, Lauren, a 19-yearold college student, and Kristen a 23-year-old lawschool student, worked at the practice during summers.
The mother and daughters were vacationing in Florida this week.
Gilmer said his boss worked hard and loved to fly. Like some people golf regularly, Gilmer said, Coulman flew at least a couple times each week.
"He flew all the time," Gilmer said. "He¯d fly to Florida for lunch. He was trying to get hours."
Coulman bought the Beech Bonanza last year after selling another plane, Gilmer said.
"He was the most meticulous person," Gilmer said. "He wouldn¯t do anything unsafe. He checked every part of his plane."
The Rev. Philip Hazelton, senior pastor of Worthington Presbyterian Church where Coulman was a member, said, "Bill was a good guy, a gentle dentist with a great sense of humor."
Sullivan has worked as a pilot with Cardinal Health for about a year, company spokesman Jim Mazzola said.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family right now," Mazzola said. "Representatives from the company are there with the family."
Dispatch reporter Robert Ruth , Kevin Landers of WBNS - 10 TV and The Rock Hill Herald contributed to this story.
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