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Local News

May 13, 2014

Officials: Pilot is recovering from crash

The pilot in Friday’s Roxbury plane crash was discharged from Bassett Medical Center, a spokeswoman there said Monday.

James P. Leavelle, 45, of Mentor, Ohio, was airlifted there with non-life-threatening injuries after the accident, which happened on North Montgomery Hollow Road at about 12:30 p.m. Friday, state police at Sidney said.

Because of privacy regulations the hospital could not say when Leavelle was released. A message could not be left Monday on Leavelle’s home phone and he did not respond to an email for comment about the accident.

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper, Leavelle is a veteran military pilot and air show performer.

Leavelle first attempted to land the 1943 North American twin seat AT-6C fixed-wing, single-propeller plane in a private grass airfield on South Montgomery Hollow Road to avoid an approaching storm, troopers said. When Leavelle realized he couldn’t stop his plane in time to land on the field, he lifted back up. The plane clipped a number of trees and a power line, causing the aircraft to lose altitude and crash-land in the field off of North Montgomery Hollow Road.

The aircraft struck a number of trees, causing extensive damage. Leavelle was conscious when he was taken to Bassett with a forehead laceration, and was later diagnosed with a minor hairline fracture on a spinal disc in the neck area, troopers said

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were notified. The aircraft was disassembled and towed to a local storage yard, troopers said. The investigation continues.

Leavelle performed at the 2103 Discover Aviation Days airshow at the Lorain County Airport in Ohio, aviation center event organizer Paul Koziol said. He hasn’t called Leavelle since the crash, wanting to give him some time to heal.

“He is one of the best guys I ever met,” Koziol said, noting that Leavelle donated his services last year because he wanted to help the show grow.

He’s a very generous man and “the best of the best” at what he does, Koziol said. When the time is right, “he will be up in the sky doing his thing.”

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