National Transportation Safety Board investigators say it could be into next week before they know what led to the deadly Friday night crash of a single-engine plane in a Marengo cornfield.
Federal Aviation Administration records indicate the small home-built craft belongs to longtime suburban atheist activist Rob Sherman, who possessed a sport pilot license. Officials have not confirmed whether Sherman was the pilot of the failed craft.
"The NTSB has not verified any of the information regarding the origin of the flight. Part of the investigation process will be to review the pilot's medical history, log books and try to obtain a 72-hour history of the pilot prior to the accident," board spokesman Keith Holloway said Sunday. "This will take some time to go through this information. There may be preliminary report available on the NTSB website either by the end of this week or next week."
Sherman was scheduled to attend the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 153 holiday party Friday at the Schaumburg Regional Airport. He was the chapter's director of membership and public relations and an adviser to the association's Young Eagles program.
Chapter President Bob Brandt confirmed Sunday that Sherman was expected at the party but never arrived. Sherman's wife, Celeste, arrived at the party by car.
"Rob was a valuable member of our chapter and we're all in shock. We have empathy and sympathy for all his family and friends if the reports we're hearing are true," Brandt said.
Sherman's daughter, Dawn Sherman, reached on social media said the family is not commenting on her father's status at this time.
"The identity of the pilot has not been confirmed and we're asking (the media) to please respect the family's privacy while that information is yet forthcoming," she wrote Sunday afternoon.
McHenry County Coroner's officials said Sunday that no information would be made available until after Monday's scheduled autopsy.
A passer-by called 911 at 7:27 a.m. Saturday to report the plane wreckage in a farm field off Meyer Road, according to the coroner's office.
Marengo firefighters found the victim, a man, who was pronounced dead at the scene at 7:53 a.m.
Sherman, 63, a 32-year resident of Buffalo Grove, recently moved with his wife to a home with an airplane hangar in Poplar Grove, west of McHenry County, where he was setting up an airplane construction business.
He unsuccessfully ran as a Green Party candidate for Congress in the 5th District this fall. Not long after his loss, he announced his intention to run in 2018 for the 12th District seat downstate.
Sherman first made headlines back in 1986, when he challenged the suburb of Zion's right to display a Christian cross on a public water tower paid for by tax dollars. He has taken on a number of other issues over the years.