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Car Trouble Keeps Brothers Off Flight; Football Family Misses Plane

August 18, 1987

MAYVILLE, Mich. (AP) _ A California man said Monday that he and his brother missed Northwest Airlines Flight 255 when their parents’ car broke down about 15 miles from the airport.

And Detroit Lions wide receiver Pete Mandley said his wife and two children had reservations on Flight 255, which crashed after taking off from Detroit Metropolitan Airport. It was the nation’s second deadliest airplane accident.

Mandley’s family decided Sunday afternoon to stay in Michigan another day.

″It had to be the work of the Lord, protecting my family like that,″ said Mandley, who lives in Paradise Valley, Ariz. ″I just wanted them to stay here another day. I guess that was the work of the Lord. I feel very fortunate.″

David McKellar and his brother, Robert, were visiting relatives in the small town of Mayville, about 70 miles from the airport.

Their parents, Roger and Phyllis McKellar, were driving the brothers to the airport when a radiator hose failed.

″We went to a gas station, trying to find a hose so we could get going,″ McKellar, 27, of Dana Point, Calif., said Monday from his parents’ home. ″It took a little longer than we thought.″

The family learned the flight had crashed when they arrived at the airport, an hour after the crash, he said.

″It really dazed us,″ McKellar said. ″We just looked at each other and said, ’Oh, my God.‴

The McKellars called other relatives to say they were safe, then returned to Mayville. McKellar said he and his 37-year-old brother, of Newport Beach, Calif., planned to return Monday night to Metropolitan Airport to take another Northwest flight to California.

Mandley’s wife, Teresa, 7-year-old son, Dejhown, and infant daughter Treazure attended the Lions’ football practice Monday at Oakland University.

″We’re just trying to put this behind us,″ Mrs. Mandley said. ″I’m happy to be here today.″

″It’s hard to for me to say it’s our good fortune when it’s some people’s misfortune,″ Mandley said. ″I’m blessed that my family wasn’t on it, but on the other hand, there are a lot of other lives that cannot be retrieved.″

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