Plane crashes into O's pitcher Grimsley's house

THE BALTIMORE SUN

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- A plane crashed into the back of a home belonging to Baltimore Orioles pitcher Jason Grimsley Friday morning, killing at least two people., The plane went down northeast of the Johnson County Executive Airport and crashed in a residential area in the 11600 block of West 148th Street.

The twin-engine Cessna 421 hit between Grimsley's home and a second home about 9:39 a.m. A witness saw two bodies in the wreckage.

The Federal Aviation Adminstration told KMBC in Kansas City that the plane was headed for Florida. The destination in Florida was not known. The FAA also said that according to the flight plan, five people were supposed to be on board, but it was unclear if all five were on board at the time of the crash.

Among those on board was Kevin Holzer, of Stilwell, a small town near the airport, said Holzer's nephew, Greg Campbell. His uncle was headed to Florida for a golfing weekend, but Campbell said he didn't know for certain the names of anyone else on the trip.

"He was the hardest working man I ever met," said Campbell, 26, of Lee's Summit, of his uncle.

The Kansas City Royals confirmed that the plane hit the home of former Royal Grimsley.

Grimsley was away at the time getting some work done on a vehicle. His wife, daughter, and a nanny were inside and escaped unharmed.

Grimsley underwent reconstructive ligament surgery on his elbow in October and is expected to be sidelined six to nine months.

"But the house does not appear to be significantly damaged. It looks like all the damage occurred in between the two houses," Overland Park police Chief John Douglass said.

KMBC's Peggy Breit reported that the plane hit the back end of the patio of the Grimsley home, and that debris from the plane hit numerous homes. She reported that it appeared the pilot was trying to land in small field when it clipped a light pole and crashed.

The National Transporation Safety Board will investigate the crash. Breit reported that it appears mechanical failure will be one of the first things investigators look at in trying to determine the cause of the crash.

KMBC's Johnny Rowlands reported that visibility for flying was down to 1.5 miles.

"The plane had just departed Johnson County Executive Airport. That would have been on runway 3-6, which would have been a northerly heading. It is very typical in marginal weather like this, they would have been on instrument flight rules, and we call this instrument meteorological conditions, meaning that the ceiling or the cloud level is below 1,000 feet, visibility below 3 miles," Rowlands said.

The plane was registered to Riley Rocket Inc., of Stilwell, Kan.

KMBC in Kansas City contributed to this report.

January 21, 2005, 6:44 PM EST

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