Sussex County Council member injured in small-plane crash in Virginia

Sussex County Councilman Vance Phillips is in a Virginia hospital after the single-engine sport-plane he was piloting crashed at a private airstrip near Lynchburg.

Officials in Amherst County say the sport plane, similar to a hang glider with an engine, went down Sunday evening at about 6:30 p.m.  Phillips was conscious when witnesses and medical crews arrived at the scene.  He was taken to Lynchburg General Hospital, then flown to the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville.  Phillips was listed in serious condition. 

Federal aviation authorities and Virginia officials are investigating the cause of the crash. 

According to initial reports, Phillips suffered a broken back in the incident.  According to a news release from Sussex County Government, federal patient privacy rules dictate that any information on his condition be released at the discretion of Phillips and his family.

Phillips, a Republican who lives in Laurel, was first elected to council in 1998. 

Sussex County Council President Michael Vincent said in a statement that “the thoughts and prayers of everyone here at Sussex County government are with Vance and his family this morning.  Vance is a strong and determined man.  We wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to him returning to the important business of representing the people of Sussex County.”

As of late last week, the Attorney General’s office was investigating an apparent altercation involving Phillips and Sussex County Sheriff Jeff Christopher.  Christopher alleged that Phillips struck him in the groin with his knee and threw a notebook at him during a meeting at GOP headquarters in Georgetown.  Phillips claimed the notebook injured his eye.

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