STANFORD, Ky. – Clark and Bobbie Sue Benton were supposed to be vacationing in the Caribbean. Instead, they were buried in this south-central Kentucky town, five days after they were killed when Comair Flight 5191 crashed.
"We're asking difficult questions," the Rev. Wayne Galloway said Friday at their funeral, attended by more than 300 people at Calvary Hill Baptist Church. "Why? Why do bad things happen to good people."
The Bentons, among 49 people killed in the Lexington crash on Sunday, were on their way to Aruba, a 50th birthday present from husband to wife.
Clark Benton was a retired Marine major, and his casket was draped with an American flag. His wife's casket was covered with pink roses.
"We may not know all the answers," Galloway said. "But this we do know, God is concerned. He is touched. He is moved by human suffering."
Galloway remembered the Bentons, members of the Fort Logan Church of Christ in Lincoln County, as Christian servants. The funeral was moved to the larger Baptist church to accommodate the throngs of mourners.
Burial was in the small, tree-shaded Buffalo Springs Cemetery on the outskirts of town, where mourning doves were released and a color guard fired a 21-gun military salute.
The start of funerals coincided with a flurry of legal action stemming from the nation's deadliest airline disaster in five years.
A lawsuit filed by victim Rebecca L. Adams' family said she suffered "conscious pain and suffering" when the plane went down Sunday morning and quickly burned. It accuses Comair of negligence.
Adams' son, Joshua Isaac Adams, said the family was pursuing legal action "so that we can one day have the answers we need."
The action needed to be taken immediately to make the family a full part of the investigation, giving it power to subpoena witnesses who also are being questioned by federal investigators, said one of the family's lawyers, Robert Clifford of Chicago. Other families also have contacted his firm, he said.
No specific damage amount is listed in the lawsuit, which was filed in Fayette County Circuit Court.
Cincinnati attorney Stan Chesley also filed a lawsuit on behalf of the family of victim Joann Wright, as well as a motion for a preliminary injunction, he said.
That would allow his team to investigate the crash scene before wreckage is removed. He said any information his investigators gather from the scene would be shared with all Comair plaintiffs, regardless of their representation.
Nick Miller, a Comair spokesman, said he couldn't comment on pending litigation.
The commuter jet veered down the wrong runway, struggled to get airborne and crashed in a field before daybreak. The sole survivor was first officer James Polehinke, who remained hospitalized Friday but was upgraded from critical to serious condition.
Comair 5191 was cleared by the control tower to take off from a 7,000-foot runway, but instead turned onto a 3,500-foot strip of cracked pavement used by small planes.
More than 1,000 people gathered Friday at Southland Christian Church for a memorial service for Larry Turner, who oversaw the University of Kentucky's extension service. Yellow and red flowers from a Kentucky farm decorated his coffin and the stage where speakers gave tribute.
UK President Lee Todd said Turner, who worked for the university for 28 years, had helped start dozens of programs to assist Kentucky residents.
"He enriched lives and provided opportunities for many generations of Kentuckians," Todd said.
Friend Tim Philpot said Turner, who survived a serious car crash and cancer, dealt positively with whatever came his way.
"Can anything good come from Flight 5191?" Philpot asked. "I can guarantee that Larry Turner would be the first one to say 'yes.'"