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Plane Crashes Between Two Moving Cars On Highway 30 Near Medicine Bow, Wyoming

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By Clair McFarland, Cowboy State Daily
Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com

A plane holding two people crash-landed onto a highway near Medicine Bow, Wyoming, Monday morning and skidded off the road. Both occupants survived the initial impact, according to a man who stopped to help them.   

The crash victims’ status Tuesday morning is unknown, however.    

‘Debris Showered Their Car’    

Chris Williams along with his wife, children and nephews were driving on Highway 30 to Rock River for a family fishing trip at about 10 a.m. Monday morning. Williams drove his Toyota Tundra with his wife, two of his sons and a nephew, while Williams’ other nephew Chet Williams  – a sophomore in high school – drove a Honda CRV just behind them.   

A plane crashed between the two vehicles, Chris Williams told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday morning. 

“(The teens in the Honda) saw it out of the left of the windshield,” he said. “This thing comes down and BOOM – they heard it hit. There was a big dust cloud, and then that plane just bounced up and hit over near the fence.”    

Debris from the crash hit the Honda in which Chet Williams drove his two cousins, Fisher and Elizabeth Williams.    

The plane was seconds away from hitting the Honda, said Chris Williams.   

“Debris showered their car,” he said.    

But in the Toyota with his wife and the other kids, Chris Williams didn’t see the crash for himself.    

“You just don’t look right up above your car, so we didn’t see them,” he said. As a father and uncle leading the fishing trip, however, he had been checking his rearview mirror often to make sure “the kids” were still close behind. When he lost sight of the Honda, Chris Williams pulled over, then turned around. He soon found the wrecked plane.    



Anniversary Flight   

The female passenger had crawled out of the plane and was conscious and cognizant, said Chris Williams, noting that his daughter Elizabeth stayed by the woman’s side. But the pilot was stuck partially in the cockpit, trapped under what was left of the plane.    

“I couldn’t tell what was what on the airplane, really,” said Williams. Members of the Williams family and other travelers tried to lift the wreckage off the man. Over the course of the next few minutes, enough passersby stopped to help and the group was able to free the male pilot from the plane’s body before paramedics arrived.    

Chris Williams’ wife, Kate, and another woman helped to pull the man out while several others lifted the hulk off him.    

It took an ambulance roughly half an hour to reach the scene, estimated Williams, adding that it was difficult to mark the time because, “In situations like that, time kind of stands still.”     

Many people stopped to help during that half hour, he said, including a woman who had reportedly worked as a paramedic in Iraq. Williams did not catch the woman’s name.    

“She seemed to know what was going on, and to have a lot of experience,” he said.    

The male pilot and female passenger, a married couple who could have been about 60, told their rescuers that they had been planning to celebrate their 26th anniversary on Tuesday, Williams said.    



‘Quieter Than Usual’   

An ambulance arrived for the pair.    

A helicopter also arrived moments later, but the man, with several obviously broken bones, was still in the ambulance when the Williams family left the scene, said Williams.    

The family fishing trip was quieter than usual, he added.    

“(The teens) were kind of in disbelief,” Williams said. “They’re just trying to rationalize it.”    

Williams said he is anxious to know how the couple is doing.    

The Carbon County Coroner’s office on Tuesday confirmed to Cowboy State Daily that it knew of the wreck and that the crash victims had been taken to a hospital, but said the coroner’s office was not called to respond following the plane crash.  

Coroners are generally only called to respond when a fatality occurs.  

The Wyoming Highway Patrol and Carbon County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to voicemails requesting comment.

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Plane-Wrecked Casper City Councilman Bruce Knell Discusses 3,700-Foot Fall From Sky

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By Clair McFarland, Cowboy State Daily

Bruce Knell doesn’t remember falling 3,700 feet in seven seconds, but he remembers hitting the ground.

The Casper City Councilman and his wife Stacy were flying on Thursday from Casper to St. George, Utah for a golf tournament, when Knell’s six-seater Lancair plane lost power over a field one mile from the St. George Regional Airport.  

“I remember losing power,” Knell told Cowboy State Daily from his bed in St. George Regional Hospital. He said he couldn’t recall the exact sensation of his rapid fall. The plane “just literally fell out of the sky.”  

“I did everything I could to keep it upright and try to glide it as much as I could, which is probably what saved us,” said Knell, adding that he also believed divine intervention had been in play. “I think it goes a little deeper than that, if you believe like I do.”  

An agent from the National Transportation Safety Board told Knell on Saturday that “he’s never seen anything like this – and someone walk away from it.”  

Knell’s strongest memory was of the impact, which was “really hard.”    

Although he and his wife were both conscious when emergency personnel responded, he could not recall interacting with first responders on scene. The pair were rushed to the hospital, where Knell is being fitted for a custom back brace. His back, he said, is broken in four places; his sternum is broken, and the inside of his mouth is “cut up pretty bad.”  

Knell already had fusions in his back and had undergone back surgery in Casper last October. The “major hardware implantation” in from last autumn is now preventing doctors from operating on his back again, he said, but “they are going to put it in a brace for now.”  

“It doesn’t help when you fall out of the sky in a plane and you already have back issues,” he said, adding that his current pain level is “nothing like I’ve ever felt.”  

The exact cause of the power outage and subsequent crash are unknown but under investigation, Knell said.

The Federal Aviation Administration arrived on scene to investigate Friday, according to the Washington City Police Department

‘Prayers for My Wife’  

But Knell’s wife is in worse shape than he is, he said. He hoped the community would pray for her. 

Stacy Knell was transported to a Las Vegas hospital for care and is suffering from at least four breaks in her back, facial lacerations, and brain bleeding.  

Knell said his wife on Saturday morning had reported a “pretty rough night, not knowing where she was or why she was there,” due to the brain bleeding. He was insistent upon finishing his treatments and being cleared from the Utah hospital as soon as possible so that he could be with her. 

Stacy Knell underwent a six-hour back surgery Friday, he said.  

New Plane  

Knell said he’s been flying under a private license since about 2010 or 2011. The orange and white plane that went down on Thursday was a new purchase which he bought in December. It had a “brand new” factory-built motor in it and had performed well on previous flights.  

“I’ve flown it from Austin, Texas, to Casper, and flew around Casper quite a bit,” said Knell. “When we flew it down here, the flight here was awesome – until a mile from landing.”  

The couple had planned to attend a golf tournament in St. George and then fly from there to New Orleans for Stacy Knell’s daughter’s wedding next weekend.  

“So we’ll be missing that,” he said.  

Knell has just begun his second year in Casper City Council.

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Casper City Councilman Bruce Knell And Wife In Plane Accident In Utah

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Casper City councilman Bruce Knell's plane.
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By Clair McFarland, Cowboy State Daily

A Casper City Councilman and his wife Stacy were injured Thursday when the airplane they were flying in crashed near St. George, Utah.

“I was in a plane crash,” Bruce Knell told Cowboy State Daily from St. George Regional Hospital on Friday. “In fact, I’m in the hospital now.”   

Knell cut the call short to undergo treatment for his injuries.   

A later text to his phone requesting follow-up was answered by a message stating “He is currently in surgery,” and that he would be out of surgery and in recovery later that day.   

Emergency personnel in Washington City, near St. George, were alerted Thursday to the crash of a small four-seat airplane carrying a man and woman, Washington City Police Chief Jason Williams confirmed in a phone interview.  

Upon discovery of the wreckage, the man reported lacerations and back pain; the woman reported arm and face lacerations with a possible broken jaw.  

Williams noted that the male in the plane was believed “possibly, to have a broken back due to the crash.”  

They were both conscious, but the pilot was unable to give details on the crash, said William.  

“According to what we were told by other airport personnel,” said Williams, “it looked like the plane had lost power, but we haven’t been able to confirm that, and we don’t have those specific details.”

The man and woman were initially taken to St. George Hospital, but Knell’s wife since has been transported to University Medical Center in Las Vegas due to the severity of her injuries.  

The plane crashed in what Williams called a “pretty barren” field about one mile southeast of St. George Regional Airport. The crash did not damage any residential property.

The Federal Aviation Administration is the investigative agency over the case.  

Casper City manager J. Carter Napier on Thursday expressed “sincere wishes” for the Knells’ “sustained health and recovery,” in a public statement confirming both husband and wife are hospitalized with “serious injuries.”  

Investigators were still on scene Friday, according to the Washington City Police Department.   

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