Suspect wanted in domestic abuse case crashes plane in Waupaca County

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WAUPACA COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) -- A Fox Valley man was taken to the hospital and into custody after he made an unauthorized takeoff from Oshkosh's Wittman Airport and crashed a plane in a corn field near Waupaca, according to the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office.

The small twin-propeller plane crashed at about 11:40 p.m. Friday night near Harrington Road, east of State Highway 22-54 in the Town of Waupaca. Firefighters freed a 47-year-old man from the plane, and he was airlifted to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Winnebago County deputies and Oshkosh police had been trying to find and arrest the man on domestic abuse charges connected to an incident in the Town of Clayton on August 13.

Officers had repeatedly checked the Wittman Airport since then, believing he kept a plane at one of the airport's hangars.

When he tried to get clearance for takeoff from the Wittman Airport tower late Friday night, air traffic controllers tried to keep him from taking off until officers could arrive. The Winnebago County Sheriff's Office says he ignored instructions, nearly crashing into an Oshkosh Police Department squad car while taking off.

Winnebago County authorities declined to release the pilot's name to respect the privacy of the domestic abuse victim involved in the original investigation.

The Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Homeland Security are now leading an investigation into the incident.