OCEAN CITY – It was out of the frying pan and into the fire last weekend for a Frederick, Md. doctor, who crash-landed his private plane on a runway at the Ocean City Airport last Saturday before returning home on Sunday and getting arrested on sex offense, assault and drug possession charges.
Tragedy was averted last Saturday when an 83-year-old pilot was successfully able to crash land his small private plane on the runway at the Ocean City Municipal Airport after his landing gear failed to open. The pilot, Robert David Crouch, 83, was traveling from Frederick in western Maryland to Ocean City in his Beech Craft Baron “D55” plane, when he ran into trouble as he approached his destination. When Crouch went to activate his landing gear during the approach to the Ocean City Airport, he found out the gear was not working and he had to perform an emergency landing.
Just before 5 p.m., Crouch was able to successfully crash land the twin-engine airplane on the belly of its fuselage on runway two at the Ocean City Airport. Crouch, the only occupant of the plane, was not injured in the crash. The Maryland State Police and Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) responded to the scene and investigated the incident.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is currently investigating the crash. The airport was closed due to the plane crash but re-opened about 45 minutes later.
Last Saturday’s emergency crash landing was just the beginning of what would prove to be a long weekend for Crouch, who apparently returned to Frederick sometime after the crash to face serious problems of a different sort.
Back in Frederick on Sunday evening, Crouch was arrested and charged with fourth-degree sex offense, second-degree assault and possession of marijuana after getting pulled over in his vehicle after a female tenant of a home he owns reported his alleged illicit sexual advances toward her.
According to charging documents, Frederick police were called to the residence and interviewed a 43-year-old woman who is renting the home from him. The alleged victim told Frederick Police Crouch had made unwanted sexual advances toward her. She further told police it was not the first time and that Crouch had sexually assaulted her during a prior incident, but said she did not report it at the time for fear of being evicted.
A short time later, Frederick Police stopped Crouch in his vehicle to question him about the complaints made by his tenant. During a search incident to the stop, a bag with about five grams of marijuana in it was found in the doctor’s vehicle, according to police reports.
Crouch was charged with fourth-degree sex offense, second-degree assault and possession of marijuana and was released the same day on his own recognizance. A tentative trial date has been set for October 30.
While Saturday’s plane crash in Ocean City had a happy ending for the most part, similar incidents in and around the airport in recent years have ended in tragedy. In June 2006, a California man, who had been a stunt pilot for over 30 years, was killed when a light, single-engine plane he was flying crashed into the woods off Route 611 in West Ocean City not far from the Ocean City Airport.
The pilot, who had been flying confidential military radar testing flights in the area for several days prior to his ill-fated final flight, was attempting a low-level approach to the runway at the Ocean City airport when the plane went down in the woods near Route 611 and Sinepuxent Rd.
In March 2002, a Cessna 172 airplane crashed into the water just off the coast of the Ocean City Airport, claiming the lives of its four occupants. The bodies of two of the occupants were recovered in the water in and around the resort area in the hours after the crash, but the other two were not found until weeks later. About two weeks after the crash, searchers located the bulk of the wreckage and enough of the remains to identify the bodies of the two missing victims through DNA.
Over a year later, the final National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined the official cause of the crash was pilot error caused by spatial disorientation, which caused the operator to lose control of the aircraft. The report listed as contributing factors the dark, moonless night and the calm, dark, open water near the approach to the airport.