The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Frenzy on farm following airplane crash
David Henderson has owned his 125-acre farm in Crane’s Corner since 1968, long before the Stafford Regional Airport was built nearby.
This weekend’s plane crash on his land was a first for the owner of a local construction company.
“It was something to get excited about early Sunday morning,” said Henderson, whose house sits about 200 feet from where the single-engine plane crashed into his company’s bulldozer, spilling nearly 100 gallons of fuel.
Just after 7 a.m., Henderson, 79, heard the commotion outside and the two dozen first responders. Still in his pajamas, Henderson jumped in his truck to see what happened, as did his son, who lives in another house on the property.
What he found were the remains of a Piper Saratoga that had been on its way toward the regional airport—about three miles away—when it apparently lost power, clipping the tops of trees on the way down and rolling over before coming to rest against Henderson’s bulldozer.
The land, which used to be a cattle farm, is fairly wide open. Despite earlier reports from state police, it hasn’t been cleared for development, said Henderson.
“I think he just lost the engine and couldn’t get it started,” said Henderson, who was glad the plane didn’t hit the bulldozer’s fuel tank and explode.
More could be known within two weeks when a federal agency releases its first findings.
The preliminary report would include evidence gathered by the National Transportation Safety Board but would not indicate the crash’s cause.
“We’re really at the point where we’re gathering information,” said NTSB spokesman Keith Walker.
The NTSB report could be issued online in 10 business days, he said. Meanwhile, the plane’s pilot, Daniel H. Hoyt, remains at Mary Washington Hospital. The passenger, Alberto Luis Toledo, who also owns the 2006 aircraft, was released Monday. Hoyt, 63, is a licensed flight instructor who lives in White Stone, according to police. Toledo, 51, of Irvington owns Total Security Products Corp.
An attendant at Hummel Field Airport in Saluda said no staff was present when the plane took off around 6:30 a.m., headed for Stafford. Jim Snider said the men are frequent users of the airport, and one called after the crash to discuss paying a bill that was due.
“He said he’d had an accident, and he’d take care of it when he got back,” Snider said.
Katie Thisdell: 540/735-1975