- November 23, 2021
On Wednesday, May 17, Bob Blankenship came home to see what looked like a windshield in the front yard of his home on Pineland Trail.
Later, when he reviewed his security camera footage, he would discover that the 4-plus-foot piece of plexiglass had fallen from the sky. It was a piece of a plane’s windshield.
“It’s the first time that something’s actually fell out of the sky,” said Blankenship, whose property abuts the Ormond Beach Municipal Airport. “We’ve had a lot of low-flying aircraft, and we’ve had a lot of jets coming in really low.”
In an email to the Observer, Ormond Beach Airport Manager Steven Lichliter said he wasn’t aware of any similar incidents occurring near the airport in recent years.
Over the weekend, two more pieces of plexiglass were found on Blankenship’s property, which is located in unincorporated Volusia County. He and his wife Donna Schleicher also found other plane components.
They waited to be contacted for an incident report, but when that didn’t happen, the couple reported the incident on Thursday, May 18, to both the Ormond Beach Municipal Airport and the DeLand Municipal Airport, where the plane landed. Blankenship also notified the FAA and spoke with the plane’s pilot.
“It just makes me wonder, ‘What if we hadn’t initiated the call?’” Blankenship said. “Was anybody going to call and check?... They knew that it happened, but nobody bothered to call the airport.”
It’s a question of safety, Donna Blankenship said. She was on the home’s back deck when the plane flew over, and she recalled hearing a popping sound. She turned to look and found a piece of fiberglass near her.
“The little piece fell on the back deck and I was just like, ‘That was really creepy,’” Donna Blankenship said.
Bob Blankenship said he understands he moved next to an airport, but he believes there should be regulations regarding safety and noise — and they should be followed.
“I think the city and the county needs to be involved, because these are county residents here,” he said. “The city people aren’t going to say a whole lot because most city people aren’t affected.”
The Ormond Beach Police Department is participating in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “Click It or Ticket” campaign to encourage drivers and passengers to wear their seatbelts.
The high-visibility enforcement effort began on Monday, May 22, and will run through June 4, according to a press release. Participating law enforcement agencies, including OBPD, will be writing citations for seat belt violations.
“If the enforcement effort alerts people to the dangers of unrestrained driving, we’ll consider our mission to be a success,” OBPD stated in the press release. “If you know a friend or a family member who does not buckle up when they drive, please ask them to consider changing their habits. Help us spread this lifesaving message before one more friend or family member is killed as a result of not buckling up. Seat belts save lives, and everyone — front seat and back, child and adult — needs to remember to buckle up.”
In Florida, the maximum penalty for a seat belt violation is a $116 fine.
The Volusia County Government is inviting the community to celebrate National EMS Week by recognizing local emergency medical services staff.
“EMS is a highly skilled profession,” Emergency Medical Services Director Kevin Captain said in a press release. “This week is a time to recognize the men and women who render lifesaving care in the field, often in difficult situations, and whose care and rapid transport make a profound difference.”
The county will publish EMS-related posts on its Facebook accounts, the press release states, and two award ceremonies recognizing EMS employees will have taken place by the end of the week: The first was held on Wednesday, May 24, and the second will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, May 26, at the Volusia County Historic Courthouse at 125 W. Indiana Ave.
On the afternoon of Wednesday, May 17, the steeple on the Historic New Bethel AME Church caught on fire after it was struck by lightning.
According to a Facebook post by the Ormond Beach Professional Firefighters, local crews responded to the fire and were assisted by Volusia County Fire and Daytona Beach Fire. The church was empty at the time of the strike.
Story was updated at 9:55 a.m. on Thursday, May 25, to correct Donna Blankenship's last name. A previous version of this story referred to her as Donna Schleicher.