Owner of Wellington home talks about plane crash

Charles Leemon has a view of a grass runway from the balcony of his home. He was away when a plane came perilously close to his residence Friday.

"He (crashed) within five feet of the house. He could have been going right through that porch," said Leemon.

His wife, Linda, was home when Steven Jenkey lost control as he was taking off in a six-seat, nearly brand new Piper plane.

"She was surprised because there was not a lot of noise," said Leemon. "All of a sudden, there was just a big thud."

He arrived home to the sight of emergency crews and got the scare of his life.

"I knew that when I left, she was walking the dogs. And she walks the dogs right out around the pool. So I'm searching frantically through the house to find out where she is. Fortunately, she had gone next door."

Saturday investigators focused squarely on the cause of the crash.

The FAA and representatives of the plane's manufacturer snapped pictures and interviewed witnesses, including the pilot Steven Jenkey, who was hospitalized after the crash.

Leemon, a pilot himself, has flown several times with Jenkey.

"He's flown for years," said Leemon. "I don't know of anyone else you'd want to get training with. He's just one of the best."

There were signs of a return to normalcy in this community that's based on aviation, as planes lifted off once again from the 4,000 foot grass runway.

There were also graphic reminders of the dangers of flying, despite the fortune of the pilot, and Leemon's wife.

"I don't see how it could have worked out any better."

The owner of the plane said that the pilot is expected to be released from Delray Medical Center Sunday.

Steven Jenkey suffered a concussion and two cracked ribs.

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