Lawsuits, investigation linger in Vein Guys crash

The answer to what caused a Thom­son plane crash that killed five members of the Vein Guys staff remains muddled more than 10 months later.


The fiery crash is still under investigation by the National Trans­portation Safety Board. Such cases can take up to a year to complete, the NTSB has said.

On Feb. 20, the Beechcraft 390 Premier carrying Vein Guys co-owner Dr. Steven Roth and clinic staff Kim Davidson, Heidi McCorkle, Tiffany Port­er and Lisa Vol­pitto crashed in a wooded area near the Thomson-McDuffie Coun­ty Airport after the landing was aborted.

According to investigators, the plane went airborne at the end of the runway and hit the top of a 60-foot concrete utility pole. The left wing was sheared off, causing a fuel leak, which led to a fire.

The group, including two pilots, was returning from a vascular surgery practice in Nashville, Tenn. Pilots Richard Trammell and Jere­­my Hayden were injured but survived.

The Vein Guys, based in Evans, briefly closed all four regional branches after the crash but reopened its local facility after 2½ weeks.

The Vein Guys, officially named The Vein Care Pavilion of the South, was started in 2004 by Roth, a vascular surgeon, and Dr. Keith Davis, a plastic surgeon who died in 2010. The company started with a center in Evans and grew to a team of four doctors and a dozen support staff, with offices in the Nashville, Tenn.; Raleigh, N.C.; and Atlanta metro areas.

As a result of the crash, the company put Columbia County property on the market in August for $1.4 million. The 2.5-acre parcel is at 7008 Evans Town Center Boulevard, next to Evans Towne Center Park. In 2008, Davis had envisioned building a four-story, 35,000-square-foot modern medical and professional center there.

In recent months, the families of those killed have filed civil suits against several parties, including the airport’s operators, the city of Thom­son, McDuffie County and Roth’s estate. According to the Atlanta-based legal journal Daily Report, four
lawsuits filed Sept. 9 in Ful­ton County Superior Court claim that negligence led to the crash.

Also named as defendants are Georgia Power Co. and parent company Southern Company Services; Milliken & Co., owner of the Kingsley Plant at the end of the runway that had granted easement for the power pole; and The Sky’s The Limit doing business as Executive Shuttle, which was owned by Trammell and employed both pilots.

A copy of one lawsuit alleged that the utility pole was too tall and inappropriately lit and that the transmission lines were too high. The suit also states that allowing trees to be planted in the airport’s “safe zone” was negligent, and it found fault in the proper maintenance and service of the privately-owned plane.

In addition, The Pavilion Group, Roth and the two pilots are blamed for having enabled “impaired,” “unqualified,” or “inadequately trained pilots” to operate the plane.

The two pilots, Trammell and Hayden, have also filed suit in Ful­ton County against the city of Thom­son, McDuffie County, Geor­gia Power and Milliken & Co.

Pilots who survived Vein Guys crash file suits
Multiple suits filed in Thomson plane crash, based on reports
Vein Guys property listed for sale
Still more questions than answers in Vein Guys crash
Vein Guys reopens Evans office
Thomson plane crash investigation continues

SATURDAY: The merger of Georgia Health Sciences and Augusta State universities became official in 2013, but not without its share of controversies.

SUNDAY: A federal judge ended the Richmond County school system’s desegregation order after 40 years.

TODAY: Five members of Evans-based vein procedures company The Vein Guys, including co-founder Steven Roth, were killed in a Feb. 20 plane crash at Thomson-McDuffie County Airport.

TUESDAY: The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office wanted to address traffic concerns in 2013 with Operation Thunder, and it did, to the chagrin of many motorists.

WEDNESDAY: The city’s transition to once-a-week garbage, recycling and yard waste collection did not go smoothly.

THURSDAY: After a dozen years in the making, the 38,000-square-foot Augusta Convention Center opened in February.

DEC. 27: Safety concerns after high-profile assaults and a proposed slum designation catapulted downtown Augusta back into the spotlight in 2013.

DEC. 28: Delays in consultations led to the deaths of three cancer patients at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center.

DEC. 29: North Augusta officials approved a $144 million public-private development that would include a baseball stadium for the Augusta GreenJackets.

DEC. 30: Rain played havoc with farmers, event planners and others in record-setting fashion.

DEC. 31: After a year of discontent over his performance, Augusta Commission members fired longtime city administrator Fred Russell in December.


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