Sunday, September 28, 2003

Ex-adjutant general dies in plane crash

The Associated Press

BARDSTOWN, Ky. - A single-engine plane crash at a small airport Saturday killed Maj. Gen. John "Russ" Groves, a former Kentucky Adjutant General, and injured another person.

Groves, 57, of Lexington, was appointed to the cabinet-level position by Gov. Paul Patton on Dec. 12, 1995, and left the post in 2001, according to the state Department of Military Affairs. The adjutant general is not only chief of the Kentucky National Guard, but directs the Division of Emergency Management.

The Piper Super Cub plane Groves was in crashed after takeoff about 100 feet off the runway just after 1 p.m. at Samuels Field Airport, said Shawn Honaker, whose aviation company operates the small airfield.

James Michael Kelley, 52, of Clarksville, Ind., was injured in the crash, according to Bardstown police. He was flown to University of Louisville hospital. His condition was not known.

Airport board member Jere Roche, a retired National Guard lieutenant colonel, said the aircraft crashed while taking off after refueling.

The men noticed a problem and tried to turn the plane around, Roche said.

"Probably after taking off, they got about 800 feet and then turned and tried to come back but didn't have enough altitude to make it," Roche said.

It was not clear who was piloting the plane.

Groves was married and had two sons and a daughter, said Lt. Col. Phil Miller, a friend and colleague of Groves.

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