Prayers for Families

Several political families lost loved ones today in a plane crash.

Federal Aviation Administration officials and local authorities in Surry County, N.C.. could not confirm the deaths or the names of the victims. They were flying on a plane registered to Blue Sky Airways, in Dallas, whose CEO is John Wesley Rakestraw, a Paulding County developer who has held fund raisers for Perdue.

According to Darrell L. Galloway, head of the Paulding County Republican Party, Rakestraw is believe to be one of the dead. Also killed, according to Galloway, are developer Steve Simpson, and Paulding County Commissioner Hal Echols.


  1. Trevor Southerland says:

    My sympathies to the families and loved ones involved. The AJC has more updates as they try to piece together what happened.

  2. yellowhammer says:

    Hal Echols was a great guy and I was honored to call him a friend. My thoughts and prayers go out to Matt and Katie, as well as all the people affected by this tragic accident.

  3. Rick Day says:

    I truly wish that developers and county commissioners would not be allowed to take private plane flights to out of state hunting trips together.

    A good ethics law could have prevented this tragedy. My thoughts too are with the ones left behind.

  4. yellowhammer says:

    Rick – These guys had been friends for a lot longer than they’d been developers or officials. An ethics law would’ve done absolutely nothing to prevent this, nor is this the proper time or place to make such a statement.

  5. Redcatcher says:

    I knew only Wesley and he will be missed. A fine man, father and husband. Yellowhammer you are a sick SOB.

  6. yellowhammer says:


    I think you misunderstood me. I knew 3 of the men on board and they were indeed three of the finest men I’ve had the pleasure to know. I took issue with Rick’s statement that an ethics law could’ve prevented this horrible accident and my intent was to say that this is neither the time nor place to make such a statement.

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