NTSB: Cocaine impairment led to deadly Safety Harbor plane crash

File photo courtesy Pinellas County Sheriff's Office

SAFETY HARBOR, Fla. (WFLA) — Cocaine impairment led to the 2014 crash of a small plane on McMullen Booth Road in Safety Harbor that killed a pilot and his teenage daughter, according to a document obtained by WFLA TV.

Jeffrey Bronken, 53, and his daughter Katherine, 15 died from injuries suffered in the crash. Katherine Bronken’s friend Keyana Linbo, 15, was injured in the March 22 crash.

The trio was from Round Lake, IL and was headed to Clearwater for the weekend when the pilot reported a fuel emergency six miles away from their destination, the St. Pete/Clearwater Airport.

The 1980 Piper crashed around 4 a.m., just north of Union Street near the entrance to the Cypress Trace North Condos.

A National Transportation Safety Board document obtained by WFLA said that Jeffrey Bronken’s toxicology report was positive for cocaine and impairment from cocaine likely affected his preflight fuel planning abilities and en route fuel management.

The trio had embarked on a nighttime, cross-country flight and had been in the air for four hours and 21 minutes when Bronken reported the emergency and said he was going to attempt to land on the highway, which was actually McMullen Booth Road.

The plane clipped 160-foot tall power lines that crossed McMullen Booth Road and then crashed.

The NTSB document said the probable cause of the crash was: “The pilot’s inadequate fuel planning, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s impairment due to cocaine use.”




Katherine Bronken (left) and Keyana Linbo. Facebook photo

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