Elizabethon Fire Chief Barry Carrier said semi-retired NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. his wife Amy, and their 1-year-old child, Isla Rose, were involved in a plane crash at the Elizabethton Municipal Airport, which is located in Carter County, Tennessee. At around 3:40 p.m., emergency crews immediately responded to reports of a private plane that had run off the end of the runway and caught fire, as Airport Manager Dan Cogan described the incident.
Earndhardt Jr, his wife, daughter, family dog, the pilot, and one other passenger were on the private plane, a Cessna Citation, which the FAA says belongs to JRM Air, LLC based in Mooresville, North Carolina. The Carter County Sheriff’s Office told local news stations that Earnhardt and all the passengers on the plane were transported to a local hospital, Johnson City Medical Center for minor injuries. Earnhardt’s injuries were described as just cuts and abrasions. Everyone survived the crash, and no one reported any serious injuries.
Earnhardt’s sister, Kelly Earnhardt Miller tweeted that her brother and family were okay. She said, “I can confirm Dale, Amy & Isla along with his two pilots were involved in a crash in Bristol TN this afternoon. Everyone is safe and has been taken to the hospital for further evaluation. We have no further information at this time. Thank you for your understanding.”
Elizabethon is located approximately 15 miles from the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee, where Earnhardt was scheduled to appear as a TV analyst for NBC on Saturday night for The Monster Energy NASCAR Series. The 44-year-old was slated to report alongside Rick Allen, former driver Jeff Burton, and former crew chief Steve Letarte, who was Earnhardt’s crew chief when he won the 2014 Daytona 500, a race he’d won for the firs time in 2004. Earnhardt is the son of Dale Earnhardt Sr., a legendary NASCAR race car driver who won the Dayton 500 in 1998. However, his father tragically died during the final lap of the Daytona 500 in 2001.
While the sight of the crash appears appears to have erupted into a massive fire, all the passengers were able to escape to safety while emergency responders tended to the flames. A Fire Marshal on the scene told WJHL that the plane had 1,000 gallons of fuel on board and while, a significant amount was leaking, they were able to stop the leak. The fire burned for a total 20 minutes.
Following the news of the crash, all media-Xfinity driver interviews have been cancelled at Bristol Motor Speedway. While authorities are investigate what caused the crash, the Elizabethon Airport remains closed.
Earnhardt Jr. has been married to his wife Amy since 2016. Their daughter Isla Rose is their only child. Together, the run the Dale and Amy Earnhardt Fund, which recently teamed up with Nationwide Children’s Hospital for Sock it To Childhood, which donates a pair of sock for every pair sold. For Islsa’s first birthday in April, Dale and Amy threw a rainbow themed party.