Linton dies in Juno Lake plunge

Published 2:31 am Friday, August 29, 2003

By By JOHN EBY / Cassopolis Vigilant
EDWARDSBURG -- A Cassopolis man died in a plane crash Saturday night in Juno Lake in Calvin Township.
Cass County Sheriff Joseph M. Underwood Jr. identified the pilot killed as Stephen Ray Linton, 51, of Cassopolis. He was the wrestling coach at Ross Beatty Jr./Sr. High School.
Marine Division divers recovered Linton's body from the wreckage of a yellow-and-white Cessna 140 at approximately 10:45 p.m. after the crash about 8:30 p.m. Aug. 23.
The southbound plane clipped power lines which cross the channel beween Juno and Painter lakes and crashed in approximately 20 feet of water just east of Camp Wildwood, disrupting power to the campground.
Power was restored to the camp on Sunday morning.
There were no other passengers in the plane at the time of the crash.
The plane had been observed flying low across the lake Saturday afternoon with a red ultralight aircraft.
The Cass County Sheriff's Office, which removed the body to the public access landing across the lake to avoid crowds which gathered along the shore at the camp, was assisted by Penn Township, Porter Township and Edwardsburg/Ontwa Township emergency crews.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources were on the scene Sunday morning to assist the Sheriff's Office with the continuing investigation.
Linton opened Michiana Monument, a tombstone engraving business on Robinson Road outside of Cassopolis, in 1991.
He was a former sheriff's deputy. Linton grew up in Elkhart, Ind., and worked for the Elkhart County Sheriff's Department between 1974 and 1984.
Linton was an experienced pilot who flew out of Elkhart Municipal Airport and from Don Duck's airstrip in Adamsville.