Powered by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Updated: 8:25 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011 | Posted: 8:18 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011

Henry County family killed in Texas plane crash


Henry County family killed in Texas plane crash photo
Dave McDermand
The crash site of a single-engine airplane is seen Monday night, Dec. 19, 2011 in northeastern Brazos County, Texas. The crash killed five people, including two children. The flight originated in Atlanta, stopped in Jackson, Miss., and was headed for Waco, Texas, when it crashed in a field north of Bryan and College Station.
Henry County family killed in Texas plane crash photo
Channel 2 Action News
Brooke Butler was killed in the Dec. 20, 2011 plane crash.

By Alexis Stevens

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The single-engine plane that crashed in Texas and killed five family members was flying through rain and lightning at the time. But investigators said Tuesday the cause of the crash had not been determined.

The five family members, including four from Henry County, were killed instantly Monday night when the plane went down near Waco, Texas, investigators said.

Four crash victims, all from Stockbridge, were identified as Michael D. Butler, 33, his 34-year-old wife, Kelly, and two children, 14-year-old daughter, Brooke, and 2-year-old son, Braden, according to Tom Vinger, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Also killed was the Michael Butler's brother, David S. Butler, 37, of Mount Calm, Texas.

Investigators believe Michael Butler was piloting the plane, which left Monday afternoon from Tara Field in Henry County, then stopped in Jackson, Miss., for supplies and was going to Waco when it encountered bad weather. The plane crashed in a field north of Bryan and College Station. A nearby resident called 911 to report the crash.

The pilot of the Piper Saratoga radioed the tower shortly before crashing around 10 p.m. Central Time in a rural area about an hour from Waco.

Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were at the crash scene Tuesday and flew over the area in a helicopter, following a similar flight plan to the aircraft that crashed. It could take up to a year to determine the official cause of the crash.

Brazos County Police Sgt. Charles Booker arrived on the scene within an hour of the crash, which scattered debris further than two miles. Booker said Brooke Butler was ejected from the plane and thrown 50 feet.

Brooke Butler attended Union Grove High School, where she was a cheerleader for the JV basketball team. Friends of the teenager created a Facebook group in her honor Tuesday.

At the Butler family's home in Stockbridge, a Christmas tree with white lights glowed through a front window Tuesday evening. Friends outside the home declined to comment about the family.

- The Associated Press contributed to this article.

More News


Today on MyAJC.com

APS trial: Oct. 27, 2014

APS trial: Vow of secrecy surrounded cheating at Kennedy Middle School

Former Kennedy Middle School principal Lucious Brown admitted to working with three other Kennedy staff to change answers on state tests for two years in a row.

5:43 p.m.  


Richt: UGA ‘just waiting for a response’ from NCAA on Gurley

Georgia-Florida week opens with the biggest question about the game still in the NCAA’s hands: Will Todd Gurley, the Bulldogs’ suspended star tailback, be allowed to play against the Gators on Saturday in Jacksonville?

Comments  (3)  

Football scores lag at state's Div. I schools

At Georgia's top-tier Division I college football programs — the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State University and Georgia Southern University — the admission scores of football players lag significantly behind those of other freshmen, an AJC investigation has discovered.

Subscribe to the AJC on your device

24-hour Digital Pass: Flashback

See Flashback Fotos on myajc.com for only 99 cents. Visit the MyAJC archives for a historic look at Atlanta from Midtown in the 70s to Auburn Avenue and even life here before traffic jams on the interstates.

In your community

Annual Woofstock event in Suwanee

Volunteering in Atlanta

Learn how to volunteer in Atlanta and north Georgia, browse volunteer events and search local groups who need volunteers in the arts, community, food programs, housing, animal rescue and more.


Mark Arum Weekend Construction Outlook

Updated every Friday, Mark Arum tells us where we can find construction, events and anything else to slow us down on the roads this weekend.