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Student pilot who ran out of gas and landed plane on Missouri highway is accused of DWI

The pilot, who was hospitalized with minor injuries after the aircraft hit a guardrail, was also alleged to have marijuana and a gun.

A student pilot who landed a small plane on a Missouri highway early Friday was arrested on charges including driving while intoxicated, authorities said.

The pilot of the single-engine Piper Cherokee landed the plane about 2:45 a.m. on Interstate 70 near Grain Valley, a city about 22 miles east of Kansas City, Mo.

The Missouri Highway Patrol tweeted that the plane ran out of fuel, hastening the freeway arrival, and hit a guardrail.

The pilot, identified in an arrest report as 35-year-old John T. Seesing, was hospitalized with a minor injury before being booked into jail, according to highway patrol.

The pilot was the only person on board, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Seesing also faces allegations of careless and imprudent driving involving a crash, felony drug and gun possession, and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, according to an arrest report.

Seesing, of Prairie Village, Kansas, has since been released from jail, the report stated.

A small plane is towed away after landing on a Missouri highway overnight after running out of fuel. Authorities say the pilot was arrested on suspicion of intoxication.
A small plane is towed away after landing on a Missouri highway overnight after running out of fuel. Authorities say the pilot was arrested on suspicion of intoxication.KSHB

The plane is registered to Warrior Aviation of Prairie Village, according to FAA records, which also state Seesing has a student pilot certificate.

No one answered phone numbers listed for Seesing or connected to an address listed for Warrior Aviation.

According to flight tracking website FlightAware, the Piper flew from Kansas City to Florida and, on the way back, made multiple stops.

Former flight instructor Dick Eiserer told NBC affiliate KSHB of Kansas City that such a long solo flight is unusual for a student, and that all trips would need instructor approval.  

The plane lost altitude on its way to Kansas City’s Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport, one witness said.

Truck driver Crystal Lipham told KSHB she was shocked to see a plane pass above and begin to land.

She said she blocked traffic, got out of her rig, and went to check on whoever was inside. The first thing she noticed as she entered the plane's cabin, she said, was the smell of alcohol.

The National Transportation Safety Board and FAA will investigate the incident.