Suspected DWI driver causes damage to plane

December 12, 2012

It might be expected that the combination of prescription pills, whiskey and a confused driver would lead to a situation not likely to end well.

Toss a second vehicle, a pedestrian and an airplane into the mix, and the degree of danger becomes sky high.

A woman driving on Crossland Road who later said she was trying to make it home to Comanche plowed into the parking lot at Granbury Regional Airport on Howard Clemmons Drive at about 5:15 p.m. Saturday and her pickup struck a parked pickup, which in turn was pushed into an empty C-152 airplane that was at rest on the tarmac.

“Officers located prescription medications and a bottle of whiskey in the vehicle,” Granbury Police Lieutenant Cliff Andrews said, noting that the driver of the Ford pickup “is being investigated on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.”

The pedestrian who narrowly avoided disaster was former airport Acting Manager John Roberts, who was preparing to get into his GMC pickup to leave when the woman’s 1999 Ford Ranger crashed into the rear of his pickup. New airport Manager Gary Hawkins also said that Roberts had just paused to make a phone call to the airport office to let them know a medical helicopter was coming in and would be needing fuel. That brief delay, fortunately, left him out of the pickup during the crash.

Hawkins said that Roberts, who is now operations manager at the airport, told him that he estimated the pickup’s speed at about 60 mph and “blew through” a stop sign. Roberts was between his pickup and another vehicle when the impact occurred.

“All he could do was stand back,” Hawkins said. “It happened right in front of him. An inch or two or maybe a foot and it could have taken him out. She started jamming on the brakes when she realized she ran a stop sign. She thought she was on Highway 377 heading to Comanche.”

Asked if the incident shook up Roberts very badly, Hawkins said, “It really did. His pickup wasn’t totaled. The bed of his pickup is pretty askew.”

The woman driving the Ford pickup was transported to Lake Granbury Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries, according to Andrews.

The two-seat Cessna that was hit by the GMC sustained “substantial” damage to the “elevator” mechanism located in its tail that will likely require costly repairs, Hawkins said.

[email protected]|817-573-7066, ext. 254

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