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Widow of Oklahoma State basketball coach awarded $100,000, plus weekly benefits

The widow of Oklahoma State University women's basketball coach Kurt Budke was awarded $100,000 in a death claim in the state workers' compensation court. His three children were awarded $50,000.
by Nolan Clay Modified: July 24, 2013 at 12:00 pm •  Published: July 23, 2013

The widow of the Oklahoma State University basketball coach killed in a plane crash was awarded $100,000 last year, plus tax-free weekly benefits.

The coach's three children split $50,000, and they also were awarded weekly benefits.

The death claim was filed in Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Court. A judge last year signed off on the awards after ruling coach Kurt Budke, 50, died from an accidental personal injury suffered in the course of his employment.

The head women's basketball coach and an assistant coach, Miranda Serna, 36, were on a recruiting trip Nov. 17, 2011, when the small plane they were riding in crashed in Arkansas.

The Oklahoman discovered the 2012 comp court order after learning that widow Shelley Kay Budke is suing the deceased pilot's estate.

The negligence lawsuit against the estate of pilot Olin Branstetter and the estate of his wife is pending in Kay County District Court.

Under the 2012 comp court order, Shelley Budke was paid the $100,000 in a lump sum. She gets $514.50 per week for life unless she marries again.

The children got $16,666.67 each in lump sums. They also were awarded $73.50 each per week.

The workers' compensation law allows a deceased worker's child to be paid weekly death benefits until he or she reaches 18 and finishes high school. Payments continue if a child goes on to college until the child is done or turns 23, whichever is first. Payments also would stop if the child marries.

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by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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