Neighbors Recall Crash, Can't Sleep

Under military and police escort, residents of the University City neighborhood torn apart by an F/A-18 Hornet crash returned Tuesday to pick up some belongings. 

The jet crashed just before noon Monday but close to 24 hours later, many residents couldn’t get the impact or the scene out of their minds. Read article on the crash.

”I just cried all night, I couldn’t sleep a bit,” said resident Choko McConnell. “I could see the fire and the flames and…  horrible, horrible.”

McConnell had to show her ID to get back into the neighborhood. She returned to turn off the heat, grab some medicine and pickup a few articles of clothing.

She and her daughter lived in the home and didn’t know the family killed in the crash but had seen someone pushing a stroller in the neighborhood recently. Read article on the victims.

Another neighbor, Pia Mantovani-Sud, was emotional about the victims and angry at the military. She called the Marines "obnoxious" for the way they treated residents Monday and criticized their policy for training over such a populated area.

“I’m surprised it didn’t happen before. I hope the flights will stop or they find another route. Look around, there are many kids living here, four schools, and it’s just awful,” said Mantovani-Sud.

Mantovani-Sud described the scene like a war zone but was more shocked at the lack of noise coming from the home destroyed in the crash. Watch home video from the crash site.

“I thought they weren’t home. That’s the sad part. I didn’t hear nobody crying, I didn’t hear nobody shouting. I thought they weren’t home. It was so eerie. It was so quiet,” said Mantovani-Sud.

A community meeting is scheduled for Thursday, December 11 at 6 p.m.  Mayor Jerry Sanders, Councilmember Sherri Lightner and a representative from the military will answer resident questions. The meeting will be held at University City High School, 6949 Genesse Avenue. For more information contact Councilmember Lightner's office at 619-236-6611.

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