Trailer or landing strip? You be the judge

| Friday, December 10, 2004

A couple from El Paso, TX, have given a whole new meaning to the term “intermodal transportation.”

The couple – pilot Mark Taylor Davis and his wife, Mercedes – were flying their single-engine Mooney 20 back home to El Paso from Austin, TX, Dec. 9 when the aircraft developed engine trouble, said Trooper Lucila Torres, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Davis, who at that time was near Sierra Blanca, decided to try to land at the nearby Fabens Airport. However, soon after, the engine shut down entirely, and when he realized he would not make it, Davis made the decision to try to land on Interstate 10.

Meanwhile, down below, truck driver Raymond Bennett White Jr. of Dayton, TX, was running westbound on I-10, minding his own business.

And that’s where the story gets interesting.

About 2:14 p.m., as White was passing mile marker 54, the Davis plane was making its final approach.

In a Texas-sized combination of strange circumstances, the plane landed on the roof of White’s trailer.

“The driver of the semi said that all he felt was like, you know, when you have a strong gust of wind,” Torres said. “He looked at mirrors, and saw a plane on the trailer. He said he didn’t panic, he just slowed, and then the plane fell off and landed on the interstate.”

Luckily no one was hurt – in fact, Torres said all three people walked away from the unusual accident.

The plane was totaled, but the truck only suffered a few marks on the trailer roof, and “some damage to a frame that he said would cost $50 to replace,” Torres said.

But that doesn’t mean White got away unscathed. When he called his supervisors to explain what happened, they plain old wouldn’t believe him.

“He called his supervisors and they cracked up laughing, like ‘ha, ha, sure, sure, trying to get out of work’,” Torres said. “It took them a while to register that he wasn’t joking.”