Conn. Race Car Driver ID'd as Long Island Plane Crash Victim | NECN
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Conn. Race Car Driver ID'd as Long Island Plane Crash Victim

Friends of owner remember David Berube (Published Wednesday, May 4, 2016)

Bristol race car driver and other victims killed after a plane broke apart in the air last night and crashed in Long Island have been identified, according to police.

David C. Berube, 66, Dana E. Parenteau, 49 and Benjamin Bridges, 32 were traveling from South Carolina to Connecticut were killed when the small plane crashed on Tuesday night. 

Berube is also the registered owner of the plane. 

The Hartford Courant reports Berube, 66, raced at numerous tracks in New England between 1990 and 2013. He was also a small business owner in Bristol.

Berube drove in the Valenti Modified Racing Series from 2004 to 2013, the Courant reported. The organization mourned his death in a Facebook posting, calling him a "true gentleman."

NTSB officials said that the pilot had reported to air traffic that he was having "difficulties" and instrumentation continued to malfunction. 

The two men and a woman were on board the single-engine Beech BE35 aircraft when broke up mid-flight on Cold Spring Road in Syosset just after 2:30 p.m., the FAA said. 

The plane took off from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, at 12:45 p.m., and was headed to Robertson Field in Plainville, Connecticut, according to the FAA.

During the flight, the pilot made a distress call over Farmingdale, New York, reporting some type of instrumentation problem -- something to the effect of, "'I have a partial panel loss,'" according to NTSB senior investigator Robert Gretz. 

The plane then disappeared off the radar and broke up in flight, leaving behind a debris field of about two miles. 

"Sometimes the higher up it breaks up, the larger the debris field," Gretz said. 

Recordings between responding police officers and dispatch revealed the sheer amount of wreckage that was scattered on the ground. 

Gretz said it's not clear why the plane broke apart in the sky. 

"It's not a common investigation for us," Gretz said of the plane breaking apart in the sky. "It does happen. In 18 years, I've probably worked five or 10 of them." 

Officials are looking at several factors in the crash, including whether the pilot was caught in bad weather. If the pilot didn't have functioning instrumentation in bad weather, it would be like driving through fog without lights or a dashboard, Gretz said.

A preliminary report is expected to be issued within five to 10 business days, and a final report, including a probable cause, will be issued in about nine to 12 months. 

The FAA will investigate the crash and the National Transportation Safety Board will determine the cause.

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