ROANOKE — After Saturday's collision between a small plane landing at Northwest Regional Airport and a sport utility vehicle on a road at the north end of the runway, Frank and Heather Laudo told WFAA in Dallas that the impact came as a complete surprise.
"We couldn't see anything at all, and then... all of a sudden... equipment was falling into the car," Heather said.
The pilot, William Davis, had asked his wife Kandy to shoot home video of his first solo round-trip. William said the video shows the couple driving into the plane's path.
"I was shocked," he said. "Just from the video that I saw, it looks like they kept going... they didn't stop at the stop sign."
But here's what the video doesn't show: The word STOP is actually painted on the pavement, more than 50 feet from the north end of the runway. The angle of the recording does not show where the Laudos' SUV would have stopped.
Airport management said drivers are supposed to stop when the runway is active. But moments before the Laudos' vehicle crossed the path of Davis' plane, his wife's recording shows a white vehicle taking the same path.
The Laudos said they never saw the plane, even though it was feet away, preparing to land at 65 mph.
In the aftermath of the crash, airport manager Glen Hyde can be heard on Kandy Davis' recording yelling, "Is anybody hurt?"
Hyde grabbed his first aid kit and ran to the Laudos' vehicle. He immediately asked them whether they saw the stop sign... or the approaching plane.
"Whatever that is, it fell. Whatever that it is it hit our car," they said.
"That is the landing gear," Hyde responded. "You got hit by a plane."
"I know that!" Heather Laudo said in the recording.
"Why did you pull out if front of an airplane, is what I wanna know?" Hyde asked.
"We didn't see it," Frank Laudo said.
"We didn't pull out in front of an airplane," Heather Laudo added.
"Yes, you did!" Kandy Davis said.
William Davis said he is grateful everyone survived, but after the incident, he has decided to give up flying, saying it was all too traumatic — even though he was just four weeks away from receiving his pilot's license.
"Things like that make you reconsider what is important and what could have happened," Davis said. "I have a young daughter and a wife, and they need me to be there to take care of them."
Northwest Regional Airport has tried to purchase the property where the private roadway exists to enforce safety measures, but said the owner has declined the offer.
"I will be talking with the FAA tomorrow in an effort to explore options to make the private road not owned by the airport safer," airport manager Glen Hyde said.