DPS releases identity of man killed in Cherokee County plane crash

The wreckage of a small plane is visible in a field near the Ponta community in Cherokee...
The wreckage of a small plane is visible in a field near the Ponta community in Cherokee County. (Source: Paul Stewart)(Paul Stewart)
Updated: Jan. 20, 2020 at 8:07 PM CST
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CHEROKEE COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - UPDATE: The Texas Department of Public Safety has released the identity of a man who was killed in a plane crash in Cherokee County.

According to DPS, around 3 p.m., they responded to the reported plane crash in a field off CR 4303. The investigators preliminary report indicates that the pilot of a Cessna 150, Keith Michael McElvain, 76, of Jacksonville had taken off from the Cherokee County Airport at approximately 12:05 PM.

DPS said it appeared the aircraft struck the guy-wires for a television tower in the Ponta area east of Jacksonville and crashed.

They said the pilot was the only occupant and was pronounced at the scene by Judge Brenda Domini and was taken to Autry Funeral Home in Jacksonville. Troopers will continue to secure the scene until investigators with the NTSB arrive tomorrow to continue the investigation.

PREVIOUS: A small plane has crashed in Cherokee County near the unincorporated community of Ponta, according to the county’s emergency management coordinator.

The crash happened near the intersection of Highway 204 and CR 4303.

Sergio Servin, Cherokee County’s emergency management coordinator, confirmed Monday afternoon that a small, private plane clipped some power lines and crashed near Ponta. Servin said Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and first responders from area volunteer fire departments are en route to the scene.

Paul Stewart, who lives near where the plane crashed, provided photos of the downed aircraft. He said the plane, which was white with yellow lettering and trim, flew over his house. Stewart, who is a pilot, estimated that the small plane was flying at an altitude of about 1,200 feet.

The plane was originally heading from northwest to southeast started turning toward a nearby tower, Stewart said. He added that as soon as the plane cleared the treeline, he heard a loud bang like a gunshot, and then the engine noise stopped.

“I’m used to hearing people duck hunting, so, at first, I thought it was a shotgun,” Stewart said.

A law enforcement officer at the scene of the crash confirmed that at least one person died in the crash.

Servin said officials from the Federal Aviation Administration are on their way to the crash site.

KLTV has reached out to public information officers for the Texas Department of Public Safety and the FAA.

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