Augusta, GA Plane Crash Kills Former Senator, Aug 2000

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Augusta, Ga. (AP) - THOMAS ALLGOOD, SR., a member of the Board of Regents and a former leader of the Georgia Senate, was killed in a fiery plane crash Friday along with his wife and pilot.
ALLGOOD, 71, and his wife, THELMA, were making one of their frequent trips to their vacation home near Portland, Maine when their single-engine plane crashed on takeoff from Daniel Field. The veteran pilot, STEPHEN RAY PATTERSON, 53, of Evans, Ga., also died in the accident.
Witnesses said the six-seat Piper Malibu Mirage, which was only two years old, struggled for altitude after taking off about 7:45 a.m.
It clipped a utility pole and then plowed into a bus stop shelter, exploding when it hit the ground, said Beach Scott, an investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board in Atlanta, which is investigating the crash.
A burning section of the plane skidded into a brick retaining wall near municipal water storage tanks, in a heavily traveled part of west Augusta. The plane narrowly missed traffic on a four-lane thoroughfare, witnesses said.
The NTSB took measurements, documented the wreckage, interviewed witnesses and checked the flight log.
"It's just a very lengthy process,"
Scott said. "It will probably take six months to finish. (But) I'm fairly confident that we will know what caused the plane to crash six months from now."
She declined to suggest a theory for the cause of the wreck.
Lawrence Freeman, Jr., who was about to get off a city bus, said the plane cleared the chain-link fence around Daniel Field but that its tail clipped a utility pole. The plane then nose-dived, destroying the pole and bus shelter, he said.
"When it hit, it was like a stream of fire," Freeman said. "If we had been there a few seconds earlier, we would have been killed by the plane."
Jennifer O'Tyson arrived early Friday for work at a Pizza Hut restaurant across the street from the airport. She said she "heard two explosion sounds" and rushed to look outside.
"When I looked around the corner, all I saw was fire," O'Tyson said.

Index-Journal Greenwood South Carolina 2000-08-05