ROANOKE, Texas — Home video reveals a major safety concern on a roadway that lets motorists drive under planes landing and taking off from Northwest Regional Airport.
The perimeter road, just feet outside the airport's property limits, is privately owned, and apparently no one is keeping cars out of harm's way.
Student pilot William Davis found out the hard way on Saturday morning — and he has the video to prove it.
"I was shocked," Davis, as he watched the video showing the landing gear of small plane hitting the top of a black sport utility vehicle.
"Just from the video that I saw, it looks like they kept going... they didn't stop at that stop sign," he said.
The Texas Department of Public Safety said Frank and Heather Laudo were driving on the private perimeter road outside Roanoke's airport when Davis aircraft clipped their car. The Laudos — who suffered minor injuries — insisted that they stopped at the runway, and only continued going because they didn't see a plane.
But the entire incident was recorded by Davis' wife, who was hoping to capture the safe landing of her husband's first solo round-trip.
The footage illustrates a safety concern at Northwest Regional Airport.
On the perimeter road, stop signs are painted on the roadway. Airport management said they are designed to alert drivers to stop when the runway is active. But the home video shows cars blowing thru the signs.
Seconds before the crash, a white car crossed the runway, with Davis' plane in clear view.
Seconds later, the Laudos vehicle crosses. Driver Frank Laudo said he never saw Davis' plane, even though it was feet away, preparing to land at 65 mph.
In the aftermath of the crash, airport manager Glen Hyde can be heard on the recording yelling, "Is anybody hurt?"
Hyde grabbed his first aid kit and ran to the Laudos' vehicle. He immediately asked them whether they saw the stop sign... or the approaching plane.
"Whatever that is, it fell. Whatever that it is it hit our car," they said.
"That is the landing gear," Hyde responded. "You got hit by a plane."
"I know that!" Heather Laudo said in the recording.
"Why did you pull out if front of an airplane, is what I wanna know?" Hyde asked.
"We didn't see it," Frank Laudo said.
"We didn't pull out in front of an airplane," Heather Laudo added.
"Yes, you did!" Kandy Davis said.
William David said he is grateful everyone survived, but after the incident, he has decided to give up flying, saying it was all too traumatic — even though he was just four weeks away from receiving his pilot's license.
"Things like that make you reconsider what is important and what could have happened," Davis said. "I have a young daughter and a wife, and they need me to be there to take care of them."
Northwest Regional Airport has tried to purchase the property where the private roadway exists to enforce safety measures, but say the owner has declined the offer.
Glen Hyde has asked the FAA to step in and help work out a plan with the owner to place flashing lights and more visible stop signs.