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Courts / Law

1 Dead, 2 Injured in Small Plane Crash in Clearwater

UPDATE AT 10:25 A.M.: Federal officials, along with local law enforcement, continue investigating a single-engine plane crash in Clearwater that killed an Illinois man and injured his daughter and her friend early Saturday morning.

Pinellas County Sheriff's officials say the plane, a 1980 Piper, took off from Chicago around 6:30 p.m. Friday evening and was headed to St. Pete/Clearwater International Airport. It crashed around 4 a.m. Saturday, coming to rest in the median of McMullen Booth Road just north of Union Street.

Jeffrey Bronken, 53, was killed in the crash. His daughter Katherine, 15, and her friend, Keyana Linbo, 15, were taken to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa. Clearwater Police spokesman Rob Shaw earlier said one girl had sustained life-threatening injuries, but the conditions of either girl is not known at this time.

The Bronkens and Linbo are all from the Chicago suburb of Round Lake. The plane is registered to Glass Man Inc., a Highland Lake, IL, company owned by Jeffrey Bronken.

Members of the Federal Aviation Administration are already working with Pinellas deputies on the investigation. They'll soon be joined by officials from the National Transportation Safety Board.

Duke Energy reports a little over 400 people remain without power as a result of the crash. McMullen Booth remains closed to traffic in both directions between Union and Enterprise Road for at least a few more hours.

ORIGINAL POST AT 6:25 A.M.: Clearwater officials said one man was killed and two teenage girls were injured in a single-engine plane crash early Saturday morning.

The crash happened around 4 a.m. on McMullen Booth Road just north of Union Street. McMullen Booth is closed to traffic in both directions between Union and Enterprise Road, said Clearwater Police spokesman Rob Shaw, and should remain that way for at least a few more hours.

The plane reportedly came to a rest in the median of the six-lane road. Shaw said when Clearwater Fire and Rescue crews arrived on the scene, they had to extinguish a number of small fires caused by debris on the road.

The two injured girls were taken to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa. One reportedly suffered life-threatening injuries.

Duke Energy reports more than 1,100 customers are without power as a result of the crash. There's no timetable on when power will be restored.