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$24.6M settlement for victim's kin in celebrity jet crash

Investigators look over the debris of a Learjet

Investigators look over the debris of a Learjet that crashed in Columbia, S.C. on Sept. 19, 2008. The crash injured former Blink 182 drummer, Travis Barker, and Adam Goldstein, also know as DJ-AM, and killed Barker's bodyguard Chris Baker. Photo Credit: AP, 2008

LOS ANGELES -  A judge approved a multimillion-dollar legal settlement Tuesday involving the wife and young son of former Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker's assistant, who was killed in a 2008 plane crash in South Carolina.

The settlement with Learjet Inc., Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and other companies involved in the ownership, operation and making of the jet will pay for college for Chris Baker's 3-year-old son and establish an annuity giving him more than $17 million over his lifetime.

It also will pay Baker's widow more than $7.6 million.

Otilia Baker and her son attended the brief hearing before Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mary Strobel.

Strobel said the settlement was in the best interest of the youngster, who rested his chin on a chair while his mother and their attorney, Brian Panish, spoke with the judge.

"It's a very sad case, but we're glad they were able to avoid a trial and receive full compensation," Panish said after the hearing.

Baker was among four people killed late Sept. 19, 2008 when the jet taking off in Columbia, S.C. hurtled off the end of the runway and came to rest on the embankment of a five lane highway where it burst into flames. The crash killed four people and left Barker and celebrity disc jockey DJ AM seriously injured. DJ AM, whose real name was Adam Goldstein, later died of a drug overdose.

Barker and the estate of DJ AM have settled their cases involving the crash for undisclosed terms. The details of the settlement with Baker's family required a judge's approval because it involved a child.

Federal investigators have yet to determine the cause of the crash but said the plane's reverse thrusters - devices on the back of jet engines that divert their thrust forward to help slow the plane or force it backward - were not in the right position.

The pilots were trying to abort takeoff at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport when the accident happened.


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