Edmond Family Says Pilot Steered Plane To Take Impact On Himself

Monday, October 17th 2011, 1:28 pm
By: News 9

Jamie Oberg, News 9

GUTHRIE, Oklahoma – An Edmond family is learning more about the plane crash that killed a grandfather Sunday and injured the man's son and grandson.

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board are still going through the plane wreckage in Guthrie. They may haul the plane away sometime Monday.

Pilot Darrell Allen Smittle, 62, his 42-year-old son Darrell Stewart Smittle and 11-year-old grandson Joshua Smittle were returning from a fishing trip in Arkansas when the plane went down. The Smittle family says troopers who responded to the wreckage told them it appeared Darrell Allen Smittle turned the plane to take the direct impact on himself, saving his son and grandson.

10/16/11 Related Story: Boy Involved In Fatal Logan County Plane Crash Released From Hospital

Smittle's wife of 44 years, Shirley, is struggling to deal with the loss of her husband.

"Please pray for Shirley," said Jill Smittle, wife of Darrell Stewart Smittle. "She's not doing well."

Shirley Smittle was just 17 when she married Darrell. She says she doesn't know what she's going to do now. She says she hopes her son wakes up soon and is able to tell her what happened before the plane crashed.

Forty-one-year-old Darrell Stewart Smittle is still hospitalized in serious condition, but his wife says he's going to recover. Doctors tell her he will probably be in ICU for at least four weeks.

Jill Smittle says her husband suffered a broken leg, eight broken ribs, and numerous other injuries. He may also lose his left foot.

Joshua Smittle, the 11-year-old boy on the plane, was released from the hospital Monday morning. He suffered minor injuries and had to get 30 stitches.

Two other Smittle brothers also went on the family fishing trip to Arkansas, but they drove back to Oklahoma.