The director of the Lawrence County Airpark in Courtland died in a crop-dusting plane crash Monday morning, according to Franklin County authorities.
Anthony “A.C.” Cottingham, 49, of Trinity died when his plane went down in a cornfield near County Line Road in Franklin County just west of Lawrence County, according to Franklin County Emergency Management Agency Director Mary Black.
She said the crash occurred between 9 and 9:30 a.m.
Black said Cottingham was pronounced dead at the scene and there were no witnesses to the crash. Officials said they do not know what caused the crash. Cottingham was believed to be the only occupant of the plane.
Lawrence County District 5 Commissioner Joey Hargrove said the death was a tragedy for Lawrence County.
“The county lost a great friend today,” said Hargrove, who said he was friends with Cottingham for more than 40 years. “We grew up in the same community and went to East Lawrence schools. A.C. always had a smile on his face. Whenever he walked into a room, he changed it from gloom to happy in a couple of minutes. He always had something good to say.”
Hargrove said Cottingham had served as the airport’s director for the past four years and was instrumental in having a portion of the runway’s tarmac repaved.
“The news of the crash was heartbreaking,” Lawrence County District 4 Commissioner Bobby Burch said. “A.C. was extremely reliable, likable and consistent. He will be missed.”