Injured Sussex County Councilman’s condition upgraded

Vance Phillips was injured when the hang glider-like aircraft he was flying crash landed in Virginia on Sunday.

The Republican councilman shattered his T12 vertebrae causing a compression injury to his spine, but did not sever the spinal column, according to Sussex County officials who issued an update Tuesday afternoon.  Phillips has since had surgery on his back and has limited feeling and movement in his legs.  His doctors are “cautiously optimistic” about his recovery outlook.  

“You just can’t imagine how many people have contacted me. My inbox on my voicemail fills up so quickly,” Mr. Phillips said in a statement. “It’s just so overwhelming, so surreal and humbling to have so many people reach out to me. I cannot thank the people of Sussex County and Delaware enough.”

Phillips expects to stay in a Virginia hospital for at least the next week before returning to Delaware for rehab.  

While the cause of the crash is still under investigation, Sussex officials say Phillips was trying to land the single-engine aircraft when it bounced hard on the grass landing strip, according to preliminary reports.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.