Jury says engine-maker must pay $26 million over fatal plane crash

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SEATTLE — A jury has awarded $26 million to the families of three people killed when a small plane crashed near Arlington in 2008.

The single-engine Cessna went down en route from San Juan Island to Auburn when its engine failed. The pilot, Brenda Houston of Enumclaw, and her 10-year-old daughter were killed, as was another passenger, Auburn spine surgeon Dr. Tory Becker.

In decisions issued in February and March, a King County Superior Court jury awarded $20 million in compensatory damages and $6 million in punitive damages against the company that made the engine.

Attorney James Anderson says the carburetor was defective, and even though the manufacturer, Avco Corp., had fixed the problem on new engines two years earlier, it didn't fix the problem on thousands of planes already flying.