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Stolen Plane Crashes near Residential Neighborhood

July 11, 1989

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) _ A stolen single-engine plane struck a power line and crashed early today, killing its 24-year-old pilot who apparently was on a joyride, authorities said.

The Cessna 152, which had taken off from Arlington Municipal Airport with authorities in pursuit, crashed about 2 a.m. south of Interstate 20 and about 100 yards from a housing development.

″He didn’t know how to fly,″ said airport night manager Tom Penalver. ″You could tell when he took off.″

The plane was stolen from Cothron Aviation Inc. The pilot, identified as William Stacy, had been arrested previously for stealing a Cothron plane for a joyride in October 1987, said Arlington Police spokesman Dee Anderson.

″We had had a case of this kid stealing a plane from the same place before. He had taken flying lessons from these people before,″ Anderson said.

Officer Desmond Freeman said the plane struck power lines but added that police did not know if the impact was a factor in the crash.

″I could tell at the time it took off it was a stolen aircraft. I chased it down the field. It was going down the taxiway,″ said Penalver.

Penalver said the plane nearly nosed into airport officials. The pilot ″kept circling around, (we were) on the radio trying to bring him in. He obviously didn’t have his radio on.″

He said the pilot had been flying around the airport for about one hour before the crash, making about a dozen attempts to land at the airport.

Penalver said he was checking out runway lights about 1 a.m. when he noticed a car driven behind a hangar and he called police.

″A few minutes later, the aircraft taxied out,″ he said. ″It drove down the taxiway, adjacent to the runway, and we followed him as he took off.

Penalver said the pilot then tried to land.

″He touched the runway,″ said Penalver. ″Most of the time, he was scared to touch down. I thought it was a student who didn’t know how to land in a crosswind.″

Penalver said the plane crashed southeast of the airport.

″He wanted to fly,″ Penalver said. ″He learned how to fly the hard way. He had fun - for awhile.″

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