NASCAR owner's plane crash stirs memories of 2002 incident

Roush survived Thursday's crash in Wisconsin
Roush survived Thursday's crash in Wisconsin
Hicks rescued Roush from 2002 crash in Alabama
Hicks rescued Roush from 2002 crash in Alabama

Posted by: Mark Bullock - bio | email

TROY, AL (WSFA) - A Pike county man is reliving some frightening memories, all because of Wednesday's plane crash involving Jack Roush, a NASCAR team owner.

Roush is an avid aviation buff and was attending an experimental aircraft gathering in Wisconsin when his personal plane went down.

When Larry Hicks saw video of the crash on CNN, he was amazed his old friend survived.

"Not many people walk away from a jet crash," he admitted.

And even fewer people walk away from TWO jet crashes. It was back in 2002 when Roush's jet crashed the first time. It happened just yards away from Larry Hicks' Pike county home.

"I heard the plane, then I saw it," Hicks recalls. "I asked my wife, 'I wonder if the pilot knows about the power lines.'"

"The plane hit the power lines, flipped upside down, and landed in the lake," he said.

That's when Larry grabbed a fishing boat, paddled to where the plane sunk, and jumped in. On his third dive, he brought Roush back up with him.

So you can imagine, when Larry saw the second crash on CNN, the memories came flooding back.

"Yeah, and they weren't good [memories]," Larry said.

This time around, Roush wasn't so lucky. While we don't know his specific injuries, WSFA 12 News confirms he did have surgery on his face Thursday and was transported to the Mayo Clinic in serious but stable condition.

Larry says he's looking forward to talking to his old friend to ask him how he cheated death a second time.

"We're family. You always worry about your family," he said.

The pair has become fast friends over the years. They travel together to NASCAR events around the country.

Coincidentally, another NASCAR legend was also involved in an Alabama aviation accident. Driver Davey Allison died when the helicopter he was piloting crashed at Talladega in 1993.

©2010 WSFA. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.