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Small plane crashes into fence in Vienna



Published: Fri, May 4, 2007 @ 12:00 a.m.



The pilot walked away from the accident, officials said.

By AMANDA GARRETT

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

VIENNA -- A township neighborhood was evacuated Thursday afternoon after a small plane crashed near Ridge and Warren-Sharon roads.

Lt. Joseph Dragovich of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said a lead pilot for Winner Aviation was flying from Lansing, Mich., to the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport on Youngstown-Kingsville Road when the plane crashed into the fence of a scrap yard at 2:50 p.m.

The pilot, Donald Bernier, who walked away from the accident, was being treated for minor injuries at St. Elizabeth Health Center, Dragovich said.

The cause of the crash is being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration in Cleveland, Dragovich said. Winner Aviation officials told The Vindicator they would have no comment on the accident until today.

Nearby residents were evacuated for a few hours while cleanup crews drained the fuel from the plane and moved the debris.

Before the evacuation, residents watched Vienna police and firemen and Trumbull County Haz-Mat teams secure the scene.

What residents said

The small plane was mostly intact, except for a wheel and part of a wing that landed in Shirley Johnston's driveway. Johnston, who has lived at the Ridge Road home since 1961, said she thought a tractor-trailer had crashed.

"I was in the dining room when I heard this really big boom," she said. "I ran out to see what it was, and I immediately called 911. I was afraid the fuel from the plane could catch on fire."

Chelsea File, 12, who lives a few houses down from Johnston, was playing on her trampoline when she saw the plane come down.

"It came down out of the sky and crashed into the fence, and then spun around," she said. "I couldn't believe it was happening."

Johnston said she feels fortunate the accident wasn't worse.

"Thank God it didn't land in one of the houses or catch on fire," she said. "We were lucky."

agarrett@vindy.com




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