Daughter: Springfield pilot did everything to avoid fatal plane crash

Updated Feb 05, 2018
  • By Parker Perry
  • Staff Writer
A Springfield woman died and her husband was injured when their plane crashed in Tennessee. Photo contributed by Independent Herald

The daughter of the Springfield couple involved in a fatal airplane crash said the aircraft’s engine failed while flying 200 mph over Tennessee.

David Maxwell was flying a Beechcraft 35-A33 Debonair aircraft with his wife, Vicki Maxwell, from Venice Municipal Airport in Venice, Fla., on Tuesday, bound for Grimes Field in Urbana. The couple crashed in Scott County, Tenn. Vicki Maxwell died in the crash and David Maxwell was injured.

MORE: Springfield man in Tennessee plane crash in stable condition

Their daughter, Erin Patton, has spoken with her father about the crash. She believes rescuers tried their best to find the crash site but they were looking in the wrong area.

“They were about a mile in the wrong direction,” Patton said.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash. No severe weather was reported Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, according to the Scott County Sheriff’s Office, so that’s likely not a major factor.

Her mother was alive for several hours after the crash, Patton said, and her dad told her the two spoke as they slipped in-and-out of consciousness while waiting for emergency crews to arrive.

David Maxwell did everything he could to prevent the crash, Patton said, including sending out an alert that was received by the Scott County Airport. He was trying to land the plane safely there when it crashed about two miles from the airport.

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“He severed his spinal cord on impact and so did my mom,” Patton said. “Their phones were out of reach. My mom said to my dad that she believed her pelvis was shattered. She hit her head on the window and she shielded her dog and protected him so he had no injuries.”

She believes the dog’s warmth kept her dad alive until emergency crews came on the scene. The dog survived.

“My mom was a provider and protector and a caretaker,” said Patton, who’s an Urbana insurance agent. “She was the glue that held our family together. And she took care of everyone. She had been a nurse for over 30 years.”

Vicki Maxwell loved her grandchildren and was their biggest supporter, Patton said.

“She was a very direct person but a very caring person,” she said. “She never asked for anything.”

The family is still working on making funeral arrangements and will decide to have it either in Ohio or Tennessee depending on David Maxwell’s ability to travel, Patton said. He’s currently in the ICU at University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville.

The funeral will be private.

EXTRA: Small plane crash in Tennessee: Woman dead, husband injured

“We want to thank our family, friends, work families, neighbors, community, sheriff, FAA, Air Force and the people of Scott County, especially the sheriff’s office, for their support,” Patton said.