Garfield, Kan. -- Barton County Commissioner Don Cates was killed earlier today in a plane crash near Garfield, Kan.
The plane crash happened around 1 p.m. a few miles west of the town of Garfield in Pawnee County.
Barton County Commissioner Don Davis, one of Cates co-workers, said he was deeply saddened by the crash. "It hurts, it hurts a lot," Davis said, "we lost a good man, Don Cates..."
According to Davis, Cates has been flying planes for many years. Cates flew planes in Vietnam and he served as a commercial pilot for 29 years. Davis said when Cates retired, he started flying a plane used for crop dusting.
Davis went on to say Commissioner Cates was a life long resident of Barton County, growing up in Claflin, where he owned two businesses. "He was born and raised there," Davis said, "he served his county like he served his country."
The Kansas Highway Patrol took over the investigation from local sheriff officers. In a report they state the single engine plane hit a power line and then crash landed onto a nearby road. Commissioner Cates was 67 years old.
U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) issued the following statement:
“My heart goes out to the entire Cates family during this difficult time,” said Sen. Moran. “Don was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. Both he and his wife Ginger are well known in the Barton County for their dedication to keeping the community a great place to live and work. Don was a true role model and his generous spirit will be greatly missed. I ask all Kansans to join me and Robba in keeping Don’s family and friends in their thoughts and prayers in the days ahead.”