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Stockbridge family dies in Texas plane crash

A plane crash has claimed the lives of a Stockbridge businessman and his family.

Michael Dustin Butler, his wife Kelly, their 14-year-old daughter Brooke and 2-year-old son Braden perished when their single-engine plane crashed in eastern Texas, Monday, around 10 p.m., according to the Associated Press (AP).

The 1966 model Piper Saratoga plane had departed from Atlanta South Regional Airport (formerly Tara Field), in Hampton, and had stopped in Jackson, Miss., en route to Waco, Texas. Ernest Contreras, of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told the AP the aircraft crashed in the farming and ranching community of North Zulch, in Brazos County, Texas.

“Contreras said severe weather had been moving through the area when the plane crashed, but authorities were still investigating,” the AP states.

The family was traveling with Butler’s brother, David Shane Butler, of Mount Calm, Texas when the plane went down.

Michael Butler was the co-owner of East Coast Construction, said Stockbridge City Councilman, Mark Alarcon, who had done business with Butler in the past. The distraught Alarcon said Butler had also coached football in a recreational league at Avalon Park, in McDonough.

“The whole thing is just tragic,” said the councilman. “I haven’t mentally and emotionally worked through this yet.”

County spokesperson, Julie Hoover-Ernst, said county officials did not have a great deal of information about the plane before it left Atlanta South Regional Airport.

“We know for a fact that they are not a tenant in one of Henry County’s hangars there,” she said. “But, they could be a tenant in one of the privately-owned hangars there.”

Hoover-Ernst expressed sadness following the news of the crash, and turned her thoughts to the Butler family and their loved ones.

“We lost a family from Henry County,” said the spokesperson. “It’s especially difficult because it happened around the holidays. Our hearts go out to that family.”

— The Associated Press contributed to this article.