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Victim of Pasco plane crash dies

A member of the Hernando Beach family injured in Monday's crash of their private plane died Wednesday.

Stephen R. Barton died at 8:45 a.m. at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, a hospital spokeswoman said. He had been on life support since being declared brain dead Tuesday morning.

Barton, 20, was the most seriously injured when the plane carrying him, his parents, his sister and her boyfriend crashed in scrub oak shortly after taking off Monday morning from a private airstrip in central Pasco County.

Barton, an ocean engineering student at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, was known for his skill in designing submarines that are driven through the water as one would pedal a bicycle. That skill led the 1993 honors graduate of Central High School to become the first Hernando County student to win the International Science and Engineering Fair.

Barton's father, the pilot of the family's single-engine Piper Cherokee 6, was slightly injured and walked away from the crash. Three others remain hospitalized: Barton's mother, Patricia, 48, a counselor at Springstead High School; his sister, Nicole, 17; and her boyfriend, Daryl Naughton, 19, of Weeki Wachee.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.

The ocean engineering department at Florida Atlantic has started a scholarship fund in Barton's memory. Donations can be sent to: Steve Barton Scholarship Fund, Florida Atlantic University Foundation, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL 33431.

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