Maryland insurance executive Rick Tepel and 3 companions died in a small plane crash after takeoff from Roatan airport

The pilot/developer of the resort had been in litigation with indigenous people over ancestral land, reports Canadian TV

This photo of pilot Patrick Forseth, at right, and Rick Tepel, at left, along with the other three passengers was taken just before the crash.

Maryland insurance executive killed with three companions in a plane crash in Honduras on way to a fishing trip

By Ken Rossignol

Canadian Pilot Patrick Forseth and the plane that plunged into the sea after taking off from Roatan airport, killing Rick Tepel and three other Americans. The pilot also perished.

ROATAN, HONDURAS – Canadian pilot Patrick Forseth was leaving the Roatan airport with four passengers from the United States on Saturday, May 18, 2019, when the plane began to twist in the air and plunged to the sea. The crash killed four of the men upon impact with one man still alive, who was rescued by Honduran firefighters but later died at a hospital.

The Hilb Group, headquartered in Richmond, Va., has confirmed that three regional executives died in the plane crash near Roatán, Honduras, on Saturday, May 18, 2019.

Canadian television is reporting that the pilot was the owner of a resort and was the destination of the group, near the mainland city of Trujillo. Forseth, the pilot and developer of the resort had been in litigation with indigenous people over ancestral land. Canadian TV raised the specter of sabotage of the plane as a result of the conflict but offered no evidence.

Rob Miller, regional leader, Hilb Group – New England, and managing director of Dowling & O’Neil Insurance; Brad Post, regional leader, Hilb Group, Tri-State; and Rick Tepel, regional leader, Hilb Group, Mid-Atlantic, and managing director of Raley, Watts & O’Neil, were traveling together on a personal fishing trip in Honduras, according to a Hilb Group spokesperson.

The obituary for Tepel provided this information: Frederick Anthony “Rick” Tepel III, 49, of Hollywood, Maryland, died tragically on May 18, 2019 after a private plane crashed into the ocean shortly after taking off from the island of Roatan on the Honduran coast.  He and his best friend Tony Dubler and two work colleagues were on their way to a fly-fishing excursion in Guanaja. Left to honor and remember Rick are Paula Gallant Tepel; his children Jackson and Carley; his sister Amy Tepel (husband Boko); his stepfather Thomas Daugherty (wife Helen); his stepmother Jeanne M. Tepel; and numerous family members and friends.

He is preceded in death by his parents Frederick Anthony “Fritz” Tepel, Jr. and Timmerman “Timmie” Daugherty and his grandparents Jack and Kay Daugherty.

Guanaja is one of the Bay Islands of Honduras about 70 kilometers off the north coast of Honduras, and 12 kilometers from the island of Roatan.

 Dubler and Tepel were both 1988 graduations of Ryken High School in Leonardtown, Md. Dubler lived in the Baltimore area and was the Vice President, Business Development at ASRC Federal.

Tepel, born in Baltimore, moved to St. Mary’s County with his sister Amy when his mother Timmerman Tepel, married Lexington Park attorney G. Thomas Daugherty. 

Timmie Tepel Daugherty died in 2018.

Timmerman “Timmie” Daugherty and Tom began the practice of law together for several years, Timmie practiced family law while Tom was a real estate settlement attorney.

Lexington Park banker and Sen. J. Frank Raley Jr, both founders of Citizens Bank which became Maryland Bank and Trust were business and political cohorts for decades.

Timmie Daugherty became the publisher and editor of the St. Mary’s Tide newspaper which operated out of offices over where a 1950’s era bar, George Aud’s Honey Lane, once was located, next to the Sign of the Whale on Rt. 235 in Lexington Park. The Tide was the second effort by Jack Daugherty to compete with The Enterprise but was unsuccessful. The St. Mary’s Guardian was published in the 1970s by Daugherty crony Harry Lee Smith until it folded.

Tom Daugherty and Jack Rue at Governors Cup race event at St. Mary’s College of Maryland at St. Mary’s City. Rue, a Naval Aviator, was on the Board of Directors of Maryland Bank and founded The Roost Restaurant in 1947.
THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo by Ken Rossignol

When divorce ended her marriage to Tom Daugherty, Timmie Daugherty moved to Baltimore in 1989, and then to Miami. Timmie retired from practicing law and became a committed artist as well as a women’s rights activist. She died on Oct. 8, 2018 in Miami after a brief illness.

Rick Tepel took over the legacy insurance firm in Southern Maryland founded by the late Senator J. Frank Raley Jr. In 1984, Thomas B. Watts, son-in-law of Lexington Park banker Jack Daugherty, and grandfather of Rick Tepel, entered into business with Raley and became owner when Raley retired. As Watts became president of Maryland Bank & Trust following the death of John T. “Jack” Daugherty, Tepel became owner of Raley, Watts Insurance. Tepel soon merged his firm with another Southern Maryland firm and in 2016 became part of the Hilb Group.

Thomas Watts at opening of Calllaway branch of Maryland Bank & Trust.

Another local tradition fostered on Tepel was that of volunteering in the community, for which his grandparents, Jack, and Kay Daugherty were well-known patrons of St. Mary’s College of Maryland, building the infrastructure of civic groups and charities along with housing developments as tremendous growth came to St. Mary’s County with the establishment of the Patuxent River Naval Air Station.  Kay Daugherty, and his aunt, Katie Watts, both teachers, as was Timmie Daugherty prior to putting herself through law school, were all strong influences on Rick Tepel as he grew up on the shores of the Patuxent River.

Kay Daugherty was a Republican while banker Jack Daugherty, known as “Happy Jack” who operated Jack Daugherty’s Sportscenter and broadcast ballgames live on WPTX radio, was a Democrat, who ran a close race but unsuccessful effort for State Senate in the 1954 Democratic Primary against Joseph A. Mattingly.

Rick Tepel established himself firmly in the Daugherty tradition of community service in fundraising for St. Mary’s Hospital and for the preservation of the historic Sotterly Plantation and Cremona Farms. With his life cut short in his prime, it remains to be speculated upon what he may have achieved later in life.


Forseth had posted a video of his resort on YouTube, shown below.

 “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the Canadian Citizen who died in a tragic plane crash in Roatan Islands, Honduras. Canadian consular officials in Tegucigalpa, Honduras are in contact with local authorities and are providing consular assistance to the family of the victim,” read a statement from a Global Affairs Canada spokesperson.

According to authorities, firefighters were quick to respond to the crash site. Four of the plane’s occupants were found dead. Another died hours later in hospital.

Four Americans and a Canadian pilot were tragically killed when a small plane crashed into the Caribbean Sea off the coast of a Honduran island on Saturday. The group was boarded on a Piper Cherokee Six plane that plummeted into the Caribbean Sea just minutes after taking off from Roatan – a popular tourist destination – while en route to the mainland port of Trujillo, about a 50 mile (80 kilometers) flight. Honduran authorities identified the pilot as Patrick Forseth, a Canadian national who developed tourism projects in the Trujillo Bay area. Witnesses reported seeing the plane flying erratically before taking a dive. A preliminary investigation blamed engine failure for downing the single-engine aircraft. Armed Forces spokesman Jose Domingo Meza confirmed the nationalities of those who died in Saturday’s crash. – Daily Mail

A promotional video was posted on the website of the pilot, Patrick Forseth, and the destination of Rick Tepel and his friends as they took off from Roatan Airport.

Discover Carivida Villas in the breathtaking Trujillo Bay, Honduras. This vacation tour is packed with fun and will quickly show you why so many North Americans are calling Trujillo Bay their “home”.

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