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Aurora Attorney Was In Experimental Plane That Crashed In Florida

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Plane Into Store

An Aurora attorney was in a plane that crashed into a grocery store in Florida Monday. (Credit: CBS)

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Updated 04/03/12 – 8:57 p.m.

DELAND, Fla. (CBS) — Two men from the Chicago area were in an experimental plane that crashed into a grocery store Florida on Monday.

Kim Presbrey, 60, of Aurora, was in the experimental plane when it crashed into the Publix grocery store in DeLand, Fla., about 40 miles north of Orlando. Presbrey is a graduate of Northwestern University Law School, and has practiced worker’s compensation law since 1977, according to the Web site for his firm, Presbrey & Associates in Aurora.

Presbrey and the other man in the plane, Thomas Rhoades, also from Aurora, both suffered burns and were airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center in Orlando in critical condition, reported CBS affiliate WKMG-TV, Orlando. Presbrey suffered third-degree burns and was in intensive care Tuesday, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports


Rhoades was also a pilot.

Presbrey’s friend Bill Weir has known him for 40 years.

“He talks mostly about his family. Then he talks about hunting and fishing; but almost as much, he talks about flying.” Weir told CBS 2′s Mike Parker. “I guess he loves it, yeah he does.”

Weir also called his friend “the most cautious of pilots.”

“I would fly with him anywhere. I would have my wife and son fly with him,” he said.

Weir said friends called Presbrey “the cloud,” because he refused to fly in cloudy conditions.

It is not known who was piloting the plane when it crashed, but the plane belonged to Presbrey. He bought it in January and flew the craft out of the Aurora Municipal Airport.

The amateur-built Seawind 3000 was registered in Presbrey’s name, a family spokesman told the Orlando Sentinel.

The plane had just left the DeLand Municipal Airport around 6:20 p.m. Chicago time Monday when it fell from the sky and crashed nose-first through the roof of the Publix store, the Sentinel reported.

CBS Miami posted 911 tapes from the accident.

“Oh my God, an airplane just went into the Publix. Oh my God!” one man said in a 911 call.

“The engine sounded like it was, like, sputtering. … And the next thing you know, he went down nose first,” one woman said, adding that she could see “black smoke all over the place.”

Three customers inside the store – Lisa Cordova, April Morris and Brendan Beitler – were injured in the accident. Only Beitler remained hospitalized in stable condition as of Tuesday, according to CBS News.

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