Last text from wife to husband before she died in plane crash: 'I love you'

Steve Ensminger didn’t receive the message until it was too late to respond.

December 30, 2019, 2:58 PM

Shortly before she took off on a flight that would end in her death, 30-year-old Carley McCord texted her husband, “I love you.”

Her husband, Steven Ensminger Jr., didn’t receive the message until it was too late to respond.

"It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing I think about when I finally fall asleep," Ensminger told ABC News. "Every once in a while throughout the day, I find myself grabbing my phone and sending a text to her phone replying, ‘I love you too.’ Now I don’t know if that’s crazy of me or not, but I’m praying she gets my message. And I wish there was a way she could let me know she has."

Ensminger said his aunt delivered the earth-shattering message him.

“My aunt Betty called and she told me I need to sit down right now and listen carefully,” he said. “And that’s when my world fell apart.”

McCord and four others were on a two-engine Piper Cheyenne aircraft headed toward the college football playoff game between LSU and Oklahoma in Atlanta on Saturday when it crashed just after takeoff in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Those killed in the crash were Ian Biggs, 51, Vaughn Crisp, 59, Gretchen Vincent, 51, Walker Vincent, 15 and McCord.

McCord, who was a local sports reporter for NBC station WDSU, was the daughter-in-law of LSU offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger.

PHOTO: Carley McCord in her Facebook profile photo.
Carley McCord in her Facebook profile photo.
Carley McCord/Facebook

The coach was told only hours before the game by LSU Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron that his daughter-in-law had died. Ensminger decided to coach that night and the Tigers beat the Sooners 63-28 in a blowout win.

While the cause of the crash has not been announced, Ensminger Jr. says he’s not focused on it because nothing is going to bring his wife back.

"Either way it’s done and she can’t come back. So the 'how' is irrelevant to me now," he said. "I guess I just have to have faith in that God has a plan and that I will get through this and be better for it and I will honor her in whatever I do."

The McCord family is still in the process of planning her funeral, the details of which will be announced Tuesday.

Due to the lack of a flight data recorder and distress call and severely burned wreckage, National Transportation Safety Board Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg said it could take up to 12-18 months to figure out how the plane went down.

The lone survivor on the plane crash, 37-year-old Stephen Berzas remains in "critically ill" condition, officials said. He was admitted to Our Lady of Lourdes hospital with burns on over 75% of his body.

Berzas underwent a two-hour surgery Monday and faces "a long road ahead," according to Dr. Joey Barrios, Medical Director of the Our Lady of Lourdes Burn Unit.

PHOTO: Fire and Police respond to the scene of a plane crash in Lafayette, La., Dec. 28, 2019.
Fire and Police respond to the scene of a plane crash in Lafayette, La., Dec. 28, 2019.
Scott Clause/USA Today

At this point, Berzas has been unable to provide any statements about the crash because he has a breathing tube in place. Officials said it is unknown when it will be removed so he would be able to speak.

"The outpouring of compassion and encouraging words for Wade are deeply felt by our whole family," the Berzas family said in a statement Monday. "We are truly grateful to be held so strongly in prayer by this community ... Our hearts ache for our friends and the families affected by this tragic event. Please offer us privacy in the days ahead as we give Wade our focused energy and loving support."