NEW KENT, VA (WWBT) - Investigators say a pilot ran out of gas and had to crash this morning in the 1300 block of Quaker Road in New Kent County. That's not too far from I-64 and the Bottoms Bridge exit.
The pilot, William Lackey the III from Raleigh, NC is at VCU Medical Center recovering from some serious injuries. He is listed in stable condition.
After crashing, the pilot contacted 911 to notify authorities of the crash.
Debris scattered and tossed everywhere, from the tree limbs to the parts of the small, single engine piper warrior two plane. This after the pilot ran out of fuel.
"It made me jump out of bed it was that loud," says witness Melissa Crews. Melissa Crews lives a few houses away. Investigators actually came knocking on her door -- because at first crews were not sure where the plane crashed.
The pilot walked out of the plane after slamming into these trees and then into the ground. He called 911 himself. Emergency crews tracked him down by using the GPS on his cell phone.
Investigators tell me its possible the plane could have slammed into nearby homes. If it didn't hit the top of these trees.
David Higgins and his family own this backyard. "I can't believe he set it down the way he did."
He was not home last night, but he certainly heard about the commotion in his backyard early this morning.
"I kept getting phone calls between 530 and 630 this morning and finally I decided to answer one," says David.
David has several dogs in these pens close to the crash. "The dogs would stop barking it was over and over and over, forever,' says Melissa.
Those dogs actually helped lead investigators to the plane. The dogs were not hurt.
Now, the challenge will be taking the plane apart and getting it out of David's backyard. That could take a few days.
The flight plan for this plane was to go from Chatham, MA to Sanford, NC.
Based on a preliminary investigation, Lackey departed Chatham, M.A. at approximately 11:45 p.m. on July 25. As Lackey approached Richmond International Airport this morning, he missed his initial approach to land.
As Lackey was attempting a second approach, he experienced a fuel shortage. In an attempt to glide and land the plane in a nearby field, the plane struck the tops of several trees causing the plane to crash into the backyard of a residence. The plane only struck the trees. His final destination from Richmond International Airport was Sanford, N.C.
There was fog reported in the area at the time of the crash but was not a factor.