Local

Robert Sherman's plane lost control minutes after takeoff, NTSB says

Prominent activist, atheist died in Marengo plane crash

AP file photo
Atheist Rob Sherman addresses the Friends of the Cross board May 25, 2012, in Alto Pass. The McHenry County Coroner's Office on Monday said 63-year-old Robert I. Sherman of Poplar Grove died in a small plane crash in Marengo. Sherman, who described himself as "the best known atheist-activist in the Midwest," was an outspoken atheist known across Illinois for going to court to challenge religious displays in public spaces or using state money for religious purposes.
AP file photo Atheist Rob Sherman addresses the Friends of the Cross board May 25, 2012, in Alto Pass. The McHenry County Coroner's Office on Monday said 63-year-old Robert I. Sherman of Poplar Grove died in a small plane crash in Marengo. Sherman, who described himself as "the best known atheist-activist in the Midwest," was an outspoken atheist known across Illinois for going to court to challenge religious displays in public spaces or using state money for religious purposes.

MARENGO – The plane operated by prominent activist and atheist Robert I. Sherman crashed after a "loss of control" minutes after takeoff, National Transportation Safety Board investigators said.

Sherman's home-built plane crashed about 6:19 p.m. Dec. 9, just seven minutes after taking off, according to a preliminary report published Thursday. The plane was discovered Saturday morning in a field off Meyer Road just north of Pleasant Grove Road in Marengo. There were no witnesses to the crash, the report said.

The 63-year-old, identified after a forensic dental examination, died from multiple injuries from the airplane crash, the McHenry County Coroner's Office said earlier this week.

The certified sport pilot departed Poplar Grove on Friday evening, intending to travel to the Schaumburg Regional Airport to attend an Experimental Aircraft Association holiday party.

There was no communication between air traffic control and Sherman, the report said. The time of departure and time of the crash were based on preliminary air traffic control radar data.

The left main landing gear was located about 190 feet southeast of the main wreckage, part of the right wing was located about 100 feet southeast, and a small satchel bag was located about 500 feet south, the report said.

Sherman was a Green Party candidate for Illinois' 5th Congressional District in the fall and announced plans to run for the 12th Congressional District in 2018. He was very passionate about taking on separation of church and state issues, as well as other battles in the Chicago area.

He also operated a builder assist center, called Rob Sherman Airplanes, at Poplar Grove Airport, according to the business’s website.

Sherman is survived by his wife, Celeste Sherman, and two children. A memorial will be held from 3 to 9 p.m. Dec. 22 at the Schaumburg Regional Airport, 905 W. Irving Park Road, Schaumburg.

Loading more

Digital Access

Digital Access
Access nwherald.com from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more! News you use every day! Daily, weekend and Sunday packages.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Stay connected to us wherever you are! Get breaking news updates along with other area information sent to you as a text message to your wireless device.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Plan your weekend and catch up on the news with our newsletters.