Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Realtor-pilot suffers stroke, lands plane safely at Hernando airport

BROOKSVILLE — A longtime Hernando Beach Realtor was clinging to life Tuesday, a day after suffering a massive stroke while flying a small airplane near the Hernando County Airport.

David Sturgill, 61, was flying an ultralight aircraft about 2:30 p.m. Monday when he became seriously ill, said Frank DeFrancesco, assistant chief for Hernando County Fire Rescue.

Sturgill was able to land the plane safely on the runway of the airport, slowly guiding the aircraft to the gate near the on-site fire station. When firefighters rushed to meet the plane, Sturgill was clearly in need of medical assistance, authorities said.

"He was half out of it," said Don Silvernell, director of the airport. "He was in very rough shape. But he made a successful landing."

Given Sturgill's condition, DeFrancesco said, the landing couldn't have gone any better. Sturgill wasn't injured in the landing, and there was no damage to the plane.

"We're very lucky that the (landing) didn't end badly," DeFrancesco said. "He was experiencing a very severe stroke."

Sturgill was then taken to Spring Hill Regional Hospital.

In an e-mail sent Tuesday to members of the Hernando County Association of Realtors, Marilyn Pearson-Adams, president of the association, said Sturgill remained in intensive care.

"It is with great sadness that we share this news with you all," Pearson-Adams said. "Please keep David, his Mother Miss Wilma, and his family in your thoughts and prayers."

Sturgill lived in a home at Hernando Beach with his elderly mother, according to friends.

For more than two decades in Hernando, during the rapid development of Spring Hill, Sturgill worked in real estate, and in later years got into building.

He also had a number of personal interests away from his business, including singing, sailing and traveling across the country in his RV.

"He's a very active man," said Vladimir Hucko, a close friend and former co-worker at Century 21 in Spring Hill. "This is very unpleasant news. It's a pity. Lots of people are concerned."

Joel Anderson can be reached at or (352) 754-6120.

Realtor-pilot suffers stroke, lands plane safely at Hernando airport 01/27/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 28, 2009 6:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over "inappropriate conduct"


    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels' overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  2. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater


    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.
  3. World's plastic waste could bury Manhattan 2 miles deep


    WASHINGTON — Industry has made more than 9.1 billion tons of plastic since 1950 and there's enough left over to bury Manhattan under more than 2 miles of trash, according to a new cradle-to-grave global study.

    Plastic trash is compacted into bales ready for further processing at the waste processing dump on the outskirts of Minsk, Belarus.
  4. Sen. John McCain's type of cancer did not slow Tampa woman


    TAMPA — When 35-year-old Beth Caldwell heard about Sen. John McCain's brain tumor this week, she hoped he would stay positive.

    That's what helped her, she said.

    Throughout her battle with brain cancer, Beth Caldwell, 35, keeps her sons Gavin, 10, and Triston, 7, on her mind.
  5. A week later, the lengthy, costly rebuilding plan for the Pasco sinkhole begins

    Public Safety

    LAND O'LAKES — A week after a massive sinkhole opened in Pasco County, county officials have begun planning the long-term cleanup, which could take months and millions of dollars.

    A sinkhole in Land O'Lakes, Fla., is seen Wednesday, July 19, 2017. The sinkhole ?‘ already one of the largest in Pasco County in decades ?‘ measures about 235 feet in width and 50 feet in depth, with the potential to expand further.