A twin-engine plane carrying five people crashed into a home in a Kansas City suburb Friday, hurling debris across the area, igniting fires and leaving a trail of destruction in the well-to-do neighborhood. Everyone on board was killed.
The plane, which went down shortly after takeoff, clipped a street lamp and several trees as it broke up, slamming into two vehicles and coming to rest at the foundation of a home. No one on the ground was hurt.
Aside from its small windows and some numerical markings, the Cessna 421C Golden Eagle III “was very hard to identify to be an airplane,” said Overland Park Fire Chief Dennis Meyers.
“It was totally destroyed,” Meyers said. “It was just all bits and pieces.”
The crash spread aviation fuel and wreckage across a several-block area. A truck and a sport utility vehicle hit by the downed plane were destroyed — the pickup flipped over and caught fire. The back porch of the home — owned by the Baltimore Orioles pitcher Jason Grimsley — was extensively damaged.
The crash came after the plane left Johnson County Executive Airport. The airport’s control tower had handed the plane over to regional air traffic controllers, who never heard from the pilot, said Bob Perry, the county airport commission’s director of aviation.
“That’s when they knew there was something wrong,” Perry said.
Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board were en route to the scene Friday night to begin their investigation.
The city identified the victims as Armour D. Stephenson Jr., 49; and Shirley F. Stephenson, 46, both of Lee’s Summit; Lewis Bradley Smith, 73, of Kansas City, Mo.; the pilot James L. Kingston, 60; and Kevin W. Holzer, 50, both of Stilwell.