Incoming ATA chairman killed in plane crash

Clarence James “Mac” McCormick III, the founder of Bestway Express who was slated to become chairman of the American Trucking Associations at next week’s annual meeting in Dallas, was killed in a private plane crash near Lawrenceville, Ill., Thursday night, Oct. 26.

According to the Vincennes (Ind.) Sun-Commercial newspaper in McCormick’s hometown, McCormick’s plane disappeared Thursday night on approach at the local airport. The wreckage was found at about 10 a.m. Friday morning about two miles north of the airport.

“Mac was a tireless ambassador for the trucking industry,” said ATA President Bill Graves. “This is truly an enormous loss. Our hearts go out to his family at this difficult time.”

Current ATA Chairman Pat Quinn, co-chairman of U.S. Xpress, called McCormick’s death “a devastating loss. He was more than a rising star in the industry. He was also a great friend.”

“My prayers are with Mac’s family during their time of grief,” said John Hill, administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. “As a fellow pilot, Mac and I shared a love for flying. In Indiana, we worked on commercial vehicle safety issues for more than 15 years.” Before joining FMCSA in 2003, Hill had worked with the Indiana State Police for nearly 30 years.

“Mac was a forward thinker, someone who was always looking to make things better,” Hill said. “I know his passion for life and dedication will be sorely missed, but I want to continue to build on his commitment to improving the safety of our national transportation system.” Just a week ago, McCormick joined Hill at the National Press Club in Washington to advocate greater adoption of safety technology in trucks.

McCormick started Bestway Express in Vincennes in 1981 with four trucks. The company now operates a regional and dedicated fleet of more than 400 trucks, as well as warehousing and logistics services.

McCormick also is a past chairman of the Truckload Carriers Association and the Indiana Motor Truck Association. He also has chaired Truck PAC, ATA’s political action committee and ATA’s Labor and Human Resources Committee. McCormick graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in business administration.