SOUTH BEND – The St. Joseph County's coroner's office has confirmed the names of the people killed in that plane crash late Sunday afternoon near the South Bend Regional Airport.
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One of the dead is a well-known former Oklahoma University football player.
60-year-old Steve Davis was on the plane that went down, hitting 3 homes. Davis was killed along with 58-year-old Wesley Caves of Tulsa, Okla.
Davis played quarterback for the Oklahoma Sooners from 1972 to 1976 and was named the Offensive Most Valuable Player of the 1976 Orange Bowl when the Sooners won their 5th national championship.
Davis led the Sooners to a 32-1-1 record as OU's starting quarterback, and with Davis at the helm, Oklahoma won the national championship in 1974 and 1975. He later became a color commentator for CBS Sports college football telecasts in the 1980s.
It could take 10 days before we have any firm answers into the cause of the crash.
Around 4:30 p.m. Sunday, a small jet coming from Tulsa, Okla. was coming into the South Bend Airport, was cleared to land, actually touched down but then went back up before crashing in to three homes in a nearby neighborhood.
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4 people were on the plane. Davis and Caves died, while the two others onboard were hurt, along with a person on the ground.
An official at Memorial Hospital has confirmed Jim Rodgers was in serious condition Monday morning, Christopher Evans was in fair condition, and Diana McKeown, who was in one of the homes, was listed as fair.
The plane went into a home at 1617 Iowa Street.
All homes near there were evacuated. Late Monday morning, all were allowed to return to their homes except those directly impacted by the plane. The National Transportation Safety Board wants to make sure those homes are safe. If you live in a home that is still evacuated and you want to get stuff out of your home, you can ask for an escort.
The NTSB has scheduled a 4 p.m. news conference.
People in the Iowa Street neighborhood where the plane crashed were forced to evacuate after jet fuel spilled. Those neighbors are hoping to return home sometime on Monday.
“We’re really being careful because of the possibility of a spark causing an explosion,” said South Bend Assistant Fire Chief John Corthier.
Jet fuel had stopped leaking Monday morning, but power was still out in the area.
The jet was a Beechcraft Premier 1 with tail number N26DK – out of the Richard Lloyd Jones Jr. Airport in Tulsa, OK.
The plane was registered to 7700 Enterprises of Montana LLC in Helena, Mont. The company is owned by Wes Caves and does business as DigiCut Systems in Tulsa, Okla. It makes window film and paint overlay for automobiles.
This happened around 4:30 p.m. According to South Bend fire, the plane was 8 miles west of the airport headed to runway 9. It touched down one time then started to climb again and then it crashed.
On approach the pilot reported a problem with electrical power, according to the FAA.
Electricity was cut off to part of the neighborhood and there was a mandatory evacuation because of the jet fuel leak.
Buses transported up to 200 people to a nearby shelter, Red Cross volunteer Jackie Lincoln said. At least one evacuation center was opened at the South Bend Firefighter's Union Hall on Lincoln Way West between Knoblock Street and Maplewood Avenue.By Monday everyone was allowed back into their homes, except those who live in three houses to either side of 1617 Iowa -- the house the plane is lodged inside.
"We could've been killed”
Stan Klaybor, who lives across the street from the crash scene, said the jet clipped the top of one house, heavily damaged a second, and finally came to rest against a third. A young boy in the third house did not appear to be seriously injured, Klaybor said.
“Her little boy was in the kitchen and he got nicked here,” Klaybor said, pointing to his forehead.
His wife, Mary Jane, regularly watches planes approach the airport.
“I was looking out my picture window. The plane’s coming, and I go, ‘Wait a minute,’ and then, boom,” she said.
“This one was coming straight at my house. I went, ‘Huh?’ and then there was a big crash, and all the insulation went flying,” she said.
Patricia Kobalski lives in one of the homes that was it. It's a day she will never forget.
"I looked outside my back door and I saw part of a plane,” she said. “I don't know how much of it there was in my house, but my roof was caved in and there was glass everywhere, the front of the house, windows busted out. I just grabbed my son and got him some clothes and we ran out."
Kobalski and her 6-year-old son made it out OK, but are understandably upset.
“I'm still real scared actually,” she said. “I'm still real shaken up because we could've been killed.”
But she's worried about her neighbors.
“I could see one house, the whole back is gone.”
Vickie Kline lives nearby.
"First thing we heard was the bang crash, the explosion, then we got closer from the outside we could see the smoke and we went down and you could see where the back of the house was completely gone and you could smell the gas,” Kline said. “real strong gas odor and that's when they were telling everybody to get back."
“At this point I'm not worried about material things, I'm just glad my son and I made it out and we're alive,” said Kobalski.