Illinois State Police, FAA investigating cause of the crash

By Alexis McAdams

FORD HEIGHTS, Ill. (WLS) — A 70-year-old Frankfort man is dead after a small plane crashed in south suburban Ford Heights.

The small aircraft crashed into a wooded area off of Lincoln Highway, just west of Illinois 394 about 5:09 p.m. Tuesday, according to Illinois State Police.

The pilot, a 70-year-old Frankfort man, underwent emergency surgery immediately after the incident at the University of Chicago hospital, sources said. He was seriously injured in the crash.

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office identified him Wednesday morning as Lawrence Jagmin. The office said he died sometime Tuesday.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the single-engine Glasair III crashed under unknown circumstances. The aircraft struck a light pole and hit a vehicle on the ground before coming to rest on an embankment, the FAA said.

Jeff Whitlock, a witness in the area, said the plane came down on the shoulder of the road, and a wing of the plane ripped off when it hit the light pole. The smell of fuel filled the air, Whitlock said.

“I could hardly breathe. I mean, I’m like, it was like I thought I was having a heart attack when I got back in my car. When I was standing on the roadside, it was like my adrenaline was going, and I’m screaming to get a fire extinguisher,” Whitlock said.

Another witness noticed the low-flying plane before the impact.

“I’m looking at him, and he’s just coming in. He’s like, just way too low. I was like, this can’t be happening, so I guess he was trying to pull up,” said Pep Garcia, another witness. “I just saw a big ball of smoke, and I was like, ‘Oh my God. This just happened.'”

The northbound and southbound ramp to Lincoln Highway were closed at approximately 5:50 p.m. for the investigation, state police said.

Rush hour traffic Wednesday morning could be affected, as the plane wreckage remains on the side of the roadway.

State police said the investigation is still underway. The FAA is also investigating.