One Dead In Turnpike Plane Crash

Monday, April 28th 2008, 3:37 pm
By: News On 6

A fiery crash costs a pilot his life and shuts down the Will Rogers Turnpike.  Charred asphalt could be seen after a Legend single engine airplane crashed and burned in the center median.   The News On 6's Ashli Sims reports it happened a few hundred feet from the Miami exit. You can see the charred asphalt where the plane burned after it crashed into the center median.

From the sky, what was left of the small single engine plane was barely recognizable.  The Oklahoma Highway Patrol believes the pilot took off from the Miami Airport and never returned.  Doug Taylor says he heard the plane before he saw it.

"It came down and it came down hard and just exploded," said Doug Taylor.

Taylor says he saw the plane go down and crash in a fiery explosion.

"We took off, but we couldn't get close enough.  I wanted to, but there was nothing I could do," said Doug Taylor.  "I was scared. I told my dad that guy didn't make it."

Investigators confirmed Taylor's fears.  They say the only person on board, the pilot, was killed.

Traffic problems spilled over from the Will Rogers Turnpike into the city of Miami.  Not only were traffic lanes blocked by the charred wreckage, but the turnpike entrance was temporarily closed. 

OHP was able to clear one lane in each direction and get drivers moving again.  They say with the crash in the middle of the busy highway, it's amazing no passing drivers were hurt.

"I personally have never seen a crash like this. We're fortunate that it did not hit any passing motorists," said OHP Lt. George Brown.

All lanes of the Will Rogers Turnpike were reopened Monday night.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has not released positive identification of the victim, only saying he was a 72-year-old man.

Several Miami residents told us they believe the pilot is local businessman.