Small plane makes a slick landing on the Interstate
By Patricia Bogumil
A twin-engine 1968 Beecher aircraft crashed on the Interstate near the Highway 20 exit in Racine Monday night while trying to land at the South Sylvania airport in the Town of Yorkville.
At the scene, the male pilot refused medical care and walked away with no injuries, according to a media release from the Racine County Sheriff’s Department.
A female passenger was transported to St. Catherine’s Hospital in Kenosha with non-life threatening injuries.
One of the first people to arrive at the crash site was Novia Kossow, of Waterford, who was driving home from Racine on the frontage road when she encountered a chaotic jumble of vehicles and headlights at about 6:45 p.m.
First responders had not yet arrived, she said. The crash scene was brightly lit by the headlights of a semi trailer truck and a few cars that had turned their high beams on the airplane, she said.
Kossow said she saw the male occupant get out of the plane, and he appeared unhurt. Within minutes, a first responder arrived and donned gear. In the distance, sirens could be heard wailing as they headed to the scene.
Kossow said it appeared the airplane had slid across the frontage road, churning up dirt onto the road. It then landed crosswise across the Interstate in the eastbound lanes.
At the time of the crash, the roadway pavement was wet and slippery in a falling rain, she said.
Cars were still driving by the accident scene in the far left (fast) lane of the Interstate, she said, which had not yet been closed to traffic by police.
Kossow said she stayed on the scene for just a few minutes. “I was wearing a dress and heels,” she said, “and wouldn’t have been a help.”
Kossow said she made a “cautious rest of the ride home” to Waterford that was not, however, without further incident.
A couple of miles from the plane crash, Kossow encountered another scary scene, when she saw a van that had been pushing another van slide on the slick pavement and turn sideways across the frontage road.
“I was a little taken aback,” she admitted, “because you don’t see this happening every day.”
At 8 p.m. Monday, the state Department of Transportation reported three-mile-long traffic delays in the eastbound lanes of the Interstate, with vehicles being diverted off at the Highway 20 exit and allowed to re-enter at County Highway KR.
Investigation into the cause of the airplane crash continues by the Federal Aviation Administration.
The sheriff’s office was assisted at the scene Monday by the Wisconsin State Patrol and Mt. Pleasant and Caledonia police departments.
Also responding to the scene were the Union Grove/Yorkville, Kansasville and Raymond fire departments.