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Highland Park Businessman Killed in Plane Crash

The Round Lake Beach man and his daughter were flying to Florida and hit power lines near the airport.

Jeffrey Bronken, 53, and his daughter Katherine in a photo from her Instagram account.
Jeffrey Bronken, 53, and his daughter Katherine in a photo from her Instagram account.

A Highland Park businessman was killed in a Florida plane crash Saturday that injured his teen-aged daughter and her friend.

Jeffrey Bronken, 53, of Round Lake Beach, owner of The Glass Man Inc., a Highland-Park based business, died when his Piper PA-28-181 hit power lines and crashed at about 4 a.m., 8 miles short of the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, according to authorities.

Katherine Bronken, 15, and her friend Keyana Linbo, were severely injured.

Bronken's plane took off from Campbell Airport in Grayslake around 6 p.m. The National Transportation and Safety Board, the Federal Aviation Administration and Pinellas County Sheriff's Office are investigating.

"The sound was so loud," neighbor Dennis Martin, who lives just 200 feet from the crash, told WTSP News. "I have never heard anything that loud."

The plane nosedived into the street after hitting the power lines.

"It's tragic," said another neighbor standing outside watching fire rescue crews clean up the wreckage. "It's a mangled mess, terrible. I can't believe anyone survived. Thank goodness the girls are still alive."

They were flying to Florida for spring break.

Neighbors told the Chicago Sun-Times that Bronken’s wife flew to Florida after being told of the crash. Bronken was licensed as a pilot in 2007. The Sun-Times also reports FAA records show the plane was registered to Bronken's glass business. His company, The Glass Man Inc., installs custom-glass in homes.
Mary March 24, 2014 at 06:33 PM
My condolences to the family.

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