STAFFORD COUNTYPilot Error, Weather Blamed in Plane CrashPilot error and weather conditions were to blame for a small-plane crash in Stafford County one year ago that left four dead, federal investigators have concluded. The National Transportation Safety Board's report, issued this week, does not name the pilot in the Feb. 22, 2006, crash in Northern Virginia. Who was at the controls is in dispute as part of lawsuits filed by families of two dead passengers.
Richard Potter, 49, owned the Lancair Columbia 400, but his lawyer has not agreed to the contention that he was flying the plane. Potter, a Virginia homebuilder, and three other men were returning from a Wake Forest University basketball game in North Carolina when they were diverted from Fredericksburg's Shannon Airport to Stafford Regional Airport because of weather conditions.
Investigators said the pilot failed to execute a correct-missed-approach procedure and instead sliced into trees in an area to the left of and about three-fourths of the way down the 5,000-foot-long runway.
There was no evidence of mechanical failure, according to the report.
Also killed in the crash were Graham Green III, 57; Albert "Buck" Jacoby, 49; and Michael Gus Pappas, 47. The families of Green and Pappas each filed $10 million lawsuits last fall against Potter's estate. Jacoby, like Potter, was an instrument-rated pilot.
-- Associated PressARLINGTON COUNTY$100,000 Grant Awarded for Soccer FieldThe U.S. Soccer Foundation has awarded a $100,000 grant for a new "all-conditions" soccer field in Arlington at the county's North Tract site, the office of U.S. Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) announced yesterday. The lighted, full-size field will be made of synthetic grass and will be one of several fields at the county's planned sports and recreation facility, to be just east of Interstate 395 and south of the 14th Street Bridge.
-- Annie GowenAUGUSTA COUNTYParents Charged With Cruelty in Teens' CaptivityA couple face cruelty charges for allegedly holding their two teenage daughters captive for months at a time by nailing shut their bedroom windows and reversing the door locks, Augusta County authorities said. Steven Tomlin, 35, and Heather Tomlin, 27, were arrested Friday after sheriff's deputies responded to a call from a friend of the Tomlins' 15-year-old daughter and found two barren bedrooms, each with only a box spring, mattress and a portable camping toilet, Capt. Dwight Wood said.
The Tomlins were charged with two counts each of cruelty and injury to a child. They face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
-- Associated Press