(Indiana) — Two veteran rail construction executives based in Florida died Oct. 3 when the private plane they jointly owned and was being piloted by one of them crashed near the Gary, Ind., airport.
Killed were Patsy J. “PJ” Crisafi, 45, co-founder and executive vice president of Roadway Worker Training Inc., St. Augustine, Fla., and Vincent “Vinnie” Vaccarello, 48, co-founder and co-president of All Railroad Services Corp., also based there. Crisafi was believed to have been the pilot.
The cause of the crash was under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, but witnesses reported either a small explosion or or some sort of engine failure on the plane while it was still in the air,” says Chuck Baker, president of the Washington, D.C.-based National Rail Construction and Maintenance Association, of which both were current board members.
The group’s members include rail and transit construction contractors, engineers and suppliers, says its website.
Crisafi’s firm specializes in railroad consulting, employee training and track safety and support; Vaccarello’s serves short line, transit, and Class 1 railroads, providing pole line removal, tree trimming, maintenance of vegetation at railroad crossings and numerous other services, according to the firms’ websites.
Crisafi was an 18-year management veteran of CSX Transportation, while Vaccarello is a former vice president of operations for Balfour Beatty Rail. Vaccarello’s current firm has about 135 employees in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, according to the firm.
“Vinnie and Patsy were both well-known and respected in the industry,” says John August, executive vice president of RailWorks Corp., New York City. He says the executives, who often worked together and co-owned the Cirrus SR-22 aircraft, were en route to the Chicago area for a meeting with Canadian National Railroad engineering officials.
Both of the firms had been subcontractors to RailWorks on past projects, says August.
According to Baker, Crisafi’s funeral is set for Oct. 12 in Connellsville, Pa. Services for Vaccarello are set for Oct. 13 in St. Johns, Fla. and a reception will be in Jacksonville.