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Utah couple dies in California plane crash

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SALT LAKE CITY — A Salt Lake City couple died Wednesday after their plane crashed in Camarillo, California, according to officials.

John Wells, 60, and his wife, Tara Wells, 56, died in the crash, an official with the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office said Thursday. The couple’s cause of death was accidental and from multiple blunt force injuries, the official said.

The plane was a single-engine, homebuilt Express Series 2000 that crashed under unknown circumstances about 1,000 feet short of Runway 26 at Camarillo Airport around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Ian Gregor with Federal Aviation Administration confirmed to

"These are my favorite people in the whole wide world,” said the couple’s daughter, Emily Taylor Wells.

She said her parents had just retired together last year — Tara Wells was a speech therapist for local schools and John, who went by his middle name Bret, worked as an electrical engineer at Hill Air Force Base.

They were flying to a family wedding when the plane crashed. Emily Wells said her parents were one-of-a-kind.

“I feel really lucky that they were my parents because not everybody gets to have parents like I had,” she said Thursday.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash, Gregor said.

Officials presumed John Wells was flying the plane, considering he had a pilot’s license, James Baroni, with the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office, told VC Star, but Baroni said that information had not yet been verified by investigators.

The plane was registered to a limited-liability corporation in Taylorsville, the FAA told VC Star.

“They just loved living," Emily Taylor Wells said. "They loved seeing things. They loved exploring. They loved being together and you would definitely feel that.”

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Lauren Bennett is a reporter with who covers Utah’s religious community and the growing tech sector in the Beehive State.
Sean Moody


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