Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Transportation

Hillsborough deputy, volunteer crash car into airport antennas

TAMPA — Hillsborough County deputies are investigating a Sheriff's Office volunteer and deputy who crashed a car into a navigational system at the Tampa Executive Airport early Saturday morning.

Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office volunteer William Nelson was driving his personal 2013 Chevrolet Camaro around the airport with Deputy Paul Rogers as part of a routine perimeter check shortly before 6 a.m., deputies said.

Nelson drove his car onto the main runway for no plausible reason and began to speed. At the southwest end of the runway, deputies said, he lost control of the car and hit the instrument landing system antennas, which provide navigation information for airplanes.

No one was injured, but the instrument landing system was damaged and unable to operate.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the Hillsborough Aviation Authority were notified, and the Sheriff's Office initiated criminal and administrative investigations. The Sheriff's Office will work with the FAA to determine if Nelson and Rogers violated any federal or state laws.

Both Nelson and Rogers were assigned to the Sheriff's Office aviation section. Rogers' status as a Sheriff's Office pilot has been suspended and he faces possible disciplinary action. Nelson, a retired Sheriff's Office sergeant, was removed from volunteer duties and could face criminal charges.

The runway was closed for a brief time and the instrument landing systems remained inoperable as of Saturday night.

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