BOWIE, Md. — The pilot said he experienced an "instrumentation issue" on takeoff before his small plane crashed onto a car on Route 50 near Freeway Airport in Bowie, Maryland Thursday morning, causing minor injuries to two people in the car.
Pilot Julius (Warren) Tolson, who told reporters he had years of flying experience, said the instrument problems led him to abort the takeoff. But it was too late, and the single-engine Mooney aircraft smashed into the berm at the end of the runway and spun across the highway, smashing into a Nissan Sentra with Ryan McClain and Eric Diprospero inside.
Around 11:20 a.m., troopers responded to eastbound of Route 50 at Church Road for a small plane crash.
The pilot of the plane has been identified as Julius Tolson, Jr., 58, of Laurel, Maryland, and the passenger of the plane, Michael Garrah, 57, of Columbia, Maryland. Both were treated at the scene.
The driver of the passenger vehicle was identified as Ryan McClain, 29, of Washington, D.C. The passenger in the car has been identified as Eric Diprospero, 31, of Baltimore, Maryland. Both were transported by Prince George’s County Fire and EMS crew members to an area hospital for treatment of their injuries.
According to WUSA9 Reporter Pete Muntean, the airplane is Mooney 201 a four-seat, single-engine airplane known for its speed.
It is not particularly hard to fly and has a good safety record. The airplane was very popular in the ‘70s and ‘80s.
Modern training stresses the risks of aggressive turning which can lead to a wing stall and spin.
The layout of the airport is very unforgiving in this way. If taking off to the north, there’s a berm, a fence, the highway, and then trees.
NTSB determines cause of airplane accidents and those investigations typically take two years.
Route 50 was partially closed in both eastbound and westbound directions following the crash. According to a preliminary investigation, the plane was attempting to take off from nearby Freeway Airport at the time of the crash.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were heading to the scene to investigate the crash.