Roush stable at UAB

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 21, 2002

Messenger Staff

A well known NASCAR car owner was in stable condition Saturday night after he crashed a small aircraft just south of Troy Municipal Airport Friday evening.

Jack Roush, owner of four Winston Cup cars and two Busch Series cars, was in Alabama for the Aaron’s 312 and 499 races Saturday and today at Talledega Superspeedway. According to a Roush spokeswoman, his love of flying brought him to Troy.

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"Jack has several friends that he flies with socially," Stephanie Smith, director of sponsor operations for Roush Racing said. "Some of them are from the Atlanta area, but one of Jack’s friends lives in the Troy area. It was Jack’s 60th birthday and they were celebrating and taking turns flying different planes."

Smith said Roush was flying a twin engine Air Cam, a small plane made by National Geographic for ariel photography.

According to information released by Troy Police Chief Anthony Everage, Roush was the pilot and only occupant of the plane and the crash occurred at approximately 6 p.m. He crashed about 30-yards offshore in the 50-acre lake in the Palos Verde subdivision.

Sgt. Benny Scarbrough, the Troy Police Department’s public information officer, said a favorable situation aided in Roush’s recovery. Larry Hicks witnessed the crash, pulled Roush from the plane and then resuscitating him.

Roush was transported to Edge Regional Medical Center where he was treated for head injuries, chest injuries and fractures to his legs. He was later airlifted to University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital Friday night.

According to Scarbrough, Roush did not receive any burns in the accident as had been previously reported. He said Hicks was treated at ERMC for burns from aviation fuel and released Friday night.

Smith said Roush was listed in critical but stable condition Saturday evening.

"He’s got a badly broken leg, some minor internal injuries and what’s called a closed head wound," Smith said. "He is following commands, which the doctors said is encouraging. On a positive note, he’s been alert and really responsive today."

Surgery on Roush’s triple-fractured left leg was completed successfully Saturday evening.

"The head injury is the most serious of the injuries he has," Roush Racing president Geoff Smith said, "I would like to acknowledge Larry Hicks … Without Larry and the members of the Troy Police Department’s help we would not be as confident as we are at this moment."

Stephanie Smith said the Roush teams will race as scheduled. In the Bush Series Aaron’s 312 race Saturday at Talledega Superspeedway, Roush driver Greg Biffle was put out of the race in one of the many crashes on the day.

Driver’s Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch will compete in today’s Aaron’s 499 at Talledega.

According to Scarbrough, the cause of the crash is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board.

Chief Everage expressed his appreciation to Michael Mitchel,

aviation safety inspector for the FAA, for his immediate assistance in the investigation.

Everage also said, "Our prayers and thoughts are with the Roush family at this time for a speedy recovery."