Word spread quickly about a second Bronken family tragedy Saturday morning.
“He was excellent, excellent father and all around fantastic person,” said Ken Hoxie, neighbor and close family friend of Jeffery Bronken. Bronken was killed when his single engine plane crashed in the middle of McMullen Booth Road in Pinellas County around 4 Saturday morning.
Bronken’s daughter Katherine and her friend Keyana Linbo were also in the plane when it crashed. The girls, both 15 were taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital in serious condition.
“He was an accomplished pilot I know he’s been doing this for probably ten years. It was one of his loves, he talked about it all the time,” said Hoxie.
“The plane had been operating in great condition, shape,” according to Hoxie. The plane was taken apart and then driven away from the crash site Saturday afternoon.
The three left Chicago and were headed for the St. Petersburg-Clearwater airport when less than 6 miles away the plane crashed.
“They stopped in Nashville, I know they had dinner. It’s not that long of a flight if you think about it, you have to stop for refueling and everything,” said Hoxie.
Hoxie would not say how Katherine or Keyana were doing. But Bronken’s wife and Katherine’s mother Susan did fly to Florida to be with her daughter.
It’s the second family tragedy in the past several years. Another Bronken daughter, Christine Bronken died in December of 2009 after a snowmobiling accident.
“I don’t understand how something like this can happen to this kind of a family, they’re such good people,” said Hoxie.