Plane crash claims 3 in family

Reporter Editor

Jake Jenkins was flying parents Dan and Dorothy from Dickens County to Rockdale Sunday morning before fatal crash. Jake Jenkins was flying parents Dan and Dorothy from Dickens County to Rockdale Sunday morning before fatal crash. A rural community and a Rockdale congregation are in shock at mid-week after three members of a well-known family died in a fiery plane crash Sunday in West Texas.

Dan Jenkins, 71, his wife Dorothy, 68, and their youngest son, 40-year-old Jake Jenkins, perished early Sunday morning when a small private plane, piloted by the younger Jenkins, crashed near his private air strip in rural Dickens County.

A family friend told The Reporter Dan and Dorothy Jenkins had been helping their son build a new house and that Dorothy Jenkins was being flown back to Rockdale to attend some family activities.

The Jenkinses were longtime, prominent residents of the Minerva community and members of Murray Street Church of Christ in Rockdale where Dan Jenkins was an elder.

The couple’s other son, Jason, lives in Brenham with his family.

‘UNKNOWN’—The Department of Public Safety held a press conference in Lubbock Monday afternoon and listed the cause of the single-engine 1946 Stinson 108’s crash as “unknown circumstances.”

Conditions around 5:45 a.m., when the plane is believed to have crashed, were listed as “low visibility, due to clouds and mist.”

Investigators theorized the plane turned around, due to the inclement weather, to return to the air strip on Jake Jenkins’ property for a landing, but struck a barbed wire fence and crashed.

The wreckage, still smoldering, was discovered about 1 p.m., near the intersection of Dickens County Roads 142 and 129, by a land owner who saw smoke.

MUSICIAN—“It’s just a huge loss to the community,” Ray Don McIntosh, minister at Murray Street Church of Christ, said.

Dan Jenkins was a retired A lcoan and Dorothy Jenkins was a former music teacher at Rockdale Elementary School.

Jake Jenkins, who was a professional firefighter in Lubbock, had also enjoyed a successful career as a musician, playing the banjo and mandolin.

That career began at Rockdale High School, from which he graduated in 1989.

Both Jenkins brothers were in an FFA musical group which entertained throughout the state a nd won numerous awa rd s, including state honors in the state FFA Share the Fun contest.

Jake Jenkins’ performance of the Ray Stephens’ comedy classic “Mississippi Squirrel Revival” is still remembered fondly by many Rockdale area residents.

After graduating from South Plains College in Levelland, Jenkins became a member of the bluegrass group Karl Shiflett & Big Country, which went national in 1999.

‘SOUND’—Shiflett was among many in the music community mourning Jenkins on Monday.

“He created the sound we had,” Shiflett said. “The contributions (he) made to the group, his efforts made the group. It’s what put us on the map.”

Shiflett said Jenkins took the basic banjo sound and incorporated aspects of western swing music, giving the group its country honky-tonk flavor.

Jenkins wrote many songs, including “Worries On My Mind” which rose to No. 1 on the bluegrass charts and was in the Texas Top 10 music charts.

Jenkins left the group in 2003 to be closer to his young family.

FIREFIGHTER—After leaving the traveling group, Jenkins performed with the Hickory Hill Band.

He began his career with the Lubbock Fire Department in 2005 and had been working as an equipment operator at LFD Station 14 for the past six months.

Jenkins had been on vacation and was to return to a 24-hour shift Sunday night.

Fellow workers said Jenkins often flew from his private air strip to work in Lubbock, about 70 miles away, and back.

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