Pilot action caused plane crash that killed 3 in Monroe Co.

      Plane crash that killed 3 people in March 2011

      A federal investigation says a Michigan pilot attempting a low pass at high speed hit the runway with a propeller, causing his plane to crash in a soccer field and kill him and two passengers.

      The National Transportation Safety Board's report on the March 29, 2011, crash at a Monroe city park also says that 58-year-old pilot Rick E. Howell of LaSalle had the medication hydrocodone in his blood, but its role in the crash is unknown.

      Howell was flying to Custer Airport from a Pennsylvania business meeting with two Conforming Matrix employees, 30-year-old Nathan Brahier of Fremont, Ohio, and 40-year-old Jeremy Tate of Oregon, Ohio.

      The Monroe Evening News says a propeller struck the surface when Howell made a low pass in the six-seat Piper aircraft.