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Plane Crashes In Middle Of Rhode Island Highway

September 21, 1985

WARWICK, R.I. (AP) _ A small private plane crashed in the middle of Interstate 95 at mid-morning Saturday, killing both people on board, but the pilot managed to miss vehicles on the highway, officials said.

″It’s really amazing″ that no motorists were hurt, said State Police Capt. John T. Leyden. ″The pilot did a fantastic job in taking the airplane down.″

The four-seat Beechcraft Bonanza crashed nose-first into the highway’s center barrier, said Thomas Shortall, assistant chief of airport operations at T.F. Green State Airport.

The victims were thrown 60 to 70 feet into the highway’s northbound lanes, Leyden said.

″He was making an approach to the airport. He had some kind of mechanical failure and he crashed right down,″ said Shortall.

Tom Crosby, who saw the crash from across from the highway, said the plane’s engine ″didn’t sound too healthy. He just missed some signs and some power lines and then he crashed.″

The plane crashed at 10:20 a.m., scattering glass, engine parts and other debris over both lanes of the highway. The craft skidded 50 feet after it hit the ground, spun around and then wrapped itself around a light pole.

Northbound traffic was rerouted after a delay, but southbound traffic was stopped for more than an hour while officials tried to clear the road.

Shortall said the plane was en route from Worcester to Warwick.

The pilot died at Rhode Island Hospital, and a female passenger was killed on impact, Leyden said.