July 25, 2008

Grapevine Pilot Dies in Plane Crash Near Midlothian Quarry

By Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas

Jul. 25--An American Airlines pilot died Thursday after his single-engine plane crashed near a limestone quarry in northwest Ellis County.

James J. Marshall of Grapevine was pronounced dead at the scene, said Senior Cpl. Charlie Morgan of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The plane hit the top of the quarry in Midlothian, about 10 miles southeast of Mansfield, before tumbling into a field, Morgan said.

Marshall may have been trying to make an emergency landing, Morgan said, adding that a final determination will be up to the Federal Aviation Administration.

"He was flying way too low to be flying normally," Morgan said.

Marshall, 58, always loved to fly, said his sister-in-law, Linda Marshall. He served as a pilot in the Air Force after graduating from college and had recently been flying 777s for American, Linda Marshall said.

"We are utterly shocked," she said.

Marshall had worked for American since 1986, an airline spokeswoman said.

He had spent the past 10 to 15 years building the four-passenger 2004 Cozy Mark IV, Linda Marshall said.

"His plane was very beloved to him," she said.

He started the project in his garage and later moved the craft to Arlington Municipal Airport, a neighbor said.

An official at the airport confirmed that Marshall rented a hangar there through a private company but declined to comment on whether Marshall had taken off from the airport Thursday.

Marshall, a long-time Grapevine resident, had been married to his wife, Rebecca Marshall, for about 40 years. Neither Rebecca Marshall nor the couple's son could be reached for comment Thursday.

It was the second fatal crash of an aircraft this week in Ellis County.

A Dallas man died at about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday after the glider he was in crashed in a wooded area about three miles from an airstrip used by the Texas Soaring Association.

Staff writers Candace Carlisle, Bill Miller and Bryon Okada contributed to this report.


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