Make us your home page


Robert Trigaux

Details emerging in crash of plane piloted by ex-Checkers CEO Dan Dorsch

Dandorschcheckers Wake up and good morning. More details and new speculation are emerging in the wake of Sunday's crash of a private plane owned and piloted by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants CEO Dan Dorsch, 56, of Tampa Palms. The plane, returning to Tampa, crashed on McCormick Farm in Virginia that serves as an agricultural research and extension center of Virginia Tech in Rockbridge County.

Dorsch's wife, Cyndie, also perished in the Sunday crash. According to the St. Petersburg Times, Cyndie Dorsch's 23-year-old dance instructor, Stepan Matkovski of Safety Harbor, also was a passenger. Matkovski flew with the couple to a New York dance contest where he and Mrs. Dorsch competed as partners.

Dorschplanpilatuscrash07.09 However, the flight plan listed four people aboard a Pilatus PC-12/45 turboprop plane registered to Dorsch's company, Nicholas, Elliott & Jordan LLC, when it departed from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey at 8:25 a.m. Sunday. Reports now say Jenny Brown, 37, who had worked as marketing director at Dorsch-owned Fun Bike Center in Lakeland, a motor sports dealership, since 2005, also died in the Sunday plane crash.

The plane crash was intense and it will take some time before tests confirm the identities of those aboard. Here is some local Virginia TV video coverage of the crash site. Another report indicates Dorsch's plane had recent mechanical problems that were allegedly repaired.

Local Virgina news coverage reports investigators are expected to finish reconstructing the plane — which fragmented into mostly small pieces across a swath of about 300 yards — by the end of this week. The impact of the plane left a five-foot crater. As of Tuesday afternoon, the propeller and engine remained buried more than five feet underground.

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 11:25am]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours