Police: Good fortune smiled on Roush
TROY, Ala. -- NASCAR multiple team owner Jack Roush’s life may have been saved by the circumstances surrounding the crash of his experimental light aircraft Friday evening, a Troy Police Department spokesman said Saturday evening.
The plane Roush was flying was hauled from the lake on Saturday. Credit: AP
Sergeant Benny Scarbrough, public relations officer for the TPD said the timing and situation surrounding the crash favored Roush in the early stages of his recovery. Roush, 60, was listed in critical but stable condition Saturday in the intensive care unit of the University of Alabama Birmingham Medical Center.
He was scheduled to undergo surgery Saturday on his triple-fractured left leg, which included a compound fracture of the femur (thighbone). Among his multiple injuries, the most serious is a closed head injury.
Roush was not burned, however, Scarbrough said. He added that his department issued a news release to that effect after several news sources reported it as a fact.
Scarbrough said his department received a 911 phone call at 6:04 p.m. CT that an airplane had crashed in the Palos Verdes Estates Lake. The gated subdivision is located north of Troy, but within the city limits.
The police log showed that both the Troy Police and Troy Fire Department responded and the first officer was on the scene at 6:08. An ambulance arrived at 6:11.
Scarborough said the first stroke of fortune for Roush, who was celebrating his birthday Friday with a group of friends that were aviation buffs, was that the crash was witnessed by Larry Hicks, 52, and his wife. The policeman said Hicks was a game warden and conservation officer for the state of Alabama.
“He’s some hero, is what he is,” Scarborough said. “He is a retired U.S. Marine who at one time was on a SAR Unit -- Search and Rescue -- so he was familiar with this type of operation.”
Scarbrough said Roush’s plane ended up “30 yards offshore, upside down but not totally submerged.” He said he had “no idea” how long Roush was submerged, but that “he was under for a period of time, according to Mr. Hicks.”
Roush Racing president Geoff Smith on Saturday morning at a news conference at Talladega Superspeedway credited Hicks with extricating and resuscitating Roush prior to his being loaded in the ambulance.
Scarbrough said the ambulance delivered Roush to Edge Regional Medical Center in Troy at 6:33 p.m. CT. He was later airlifted to Birmingham by helicopter, arriving at about 10 p.m.
“He was fortunate that he was in a place in which there was a facility like that he could be brought to, and worked on” Scarbrough said. “In a truly trauma type situation we’re very fortunate to have access to that kind of facility.”
Scarbrough said a Federal Aviation Administration investigator arrived in Troy Friday evening from Birmingham and with the accident “still under investigation by the FAA, at this time we are not releasing any details as to the specific cause and circumstances concerning the crash.”
He also said he had no knowledge of any birthday celebration Roush and his associates might have been participating in and that there were two airfields in relative proximity to this southeastern Alabama town, about 50 miles southeast of Montgomery, Ala.
Scarbrough also deferred any clarification of takeoffs or flight plans to the FAA.
By Dave Rodman, Turner Sports Interactive