Judge Finds Negligence Major Factor in Kentucky Comair Crash

A federal judge has ruled that the negligence of two pilots who took off on the wrong runway was a “substantial factor” in the August 2006 crash of a Comair regional jet in Lexington.

U.S. District Judge Karl Forester’s ruling came in the case brought by the family of Bryan Keith Woodward, a passenger on the plane.

The ruling now leaves a jury to decide if Comair committed acts of gross negligence warranting punitive damages.

Flight 5191 crashed after trying to take off from a runway that was too short for commercial jets. Forty-nine people were killed. The National Transportation Safety Board found the pilots’ failed to notice clues they were on the wrong runway.

A jury previously awarded Woodward’s family $7.1 million in compensation and $750,000 for pain and suffering.