Disabled Arizona man dies in Reno air show crash

AP News
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Posted: Sep 18, 2011 3:53 AM
Disabled Arizona man dies in Reno air show crash

A Phoenix-area man who overcame a disability to earn a college degree and start his own Internet company was among the nine people killed in the Reno air show crash, his family said Saturday.

Michael Wogan, 22, who had muscular dystrophy, was sitting Friday with his father in an area for wheelchairs at the air show's VIP boxes _ near where investigators say the World War II-era plane crashed, a family spokeswoman said late Saturday.

The Arizona State University graduate was killed and his father, Bill Wogan, was hospitalized in serious condition, Tara La Bouff said. The Arizona Republic reported that the elder Wogan lost an eye and some fingers and suffered serious facial injuries.

"We celebrate Michael's life and, although we will miss him dearly, we have such peace and joy knowing that he is not suffering and now walks side-by-side with God," his mother, Anne Wogan, said in a statement.

The newspaper said two of Wogan's three brothers also have muscular dystrophy, and the condition drew them close as they shared the same surgeries, doctors, and 24-hour caretakers.

"We liked all the same things. We did everything together. He was my best friend," James Wogan, 19, the youngest brother, told the Republic.

The news of his death came in a phone call Saturday at 1 a.m., but his brothers had been trying his cell phone for hours, ever since they'd heard about the crash.

"Everybody please pray," one of the brothers wrote on Facebook.

The Scottsdale, Ariz., family was especially proud when Wogan graduated in May magna cum laude with a degree in finance.

The brothers recalled that their mother smiled and whispered to the other boys in wheelchairs, Billy, the oldest, and James that they could do this, too

La Bouff said he owned a web hosting company and was starting up a social media marketing company.

"He would have made it big ... but mostly he just wanted to be happy," James Wogan said. "I'm going to live my life as he could have lived his life. I'm going to do well."

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Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com