Man loses his dream plane along side of I-10

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A retired man, who is passionate about pursuing his lifelong dream of flying, lost his plane along the side of I-10 Wednesday morning.

Tom Zollinger is from Kentucky. He said his dream has always been to own an experimental aircraft.

So, he purchased a small plane from a man in Satellite Beach back in October. On Tuesday, he made the long trek down to Florida to retrieve his treasure.

The aircraft was securely tightened to his trailer, or so he thought.

On his way back to Kentucky, Zollinger realized his plane was no longer on the trailer. He didn't realize the plane was missing until he got to Baker County, roughly 15 miles from where the plane unhooked. The plane and trailer ended up in the median of I-10 near Chaffee Road on Jacksonville's Westside.

"When I stopped for gas," said Zollinger. "Every time I stopped for gas, I go out and check on my straps to make sure everything is tight. There was nothing tied on."

He called the Florida Highway Patrol and said he was terrified someone ran over the small aircraft. "I told them that's what I was afraid of, that somebody got killed or hurt."

FHP said a driver called them early Wednesday morning and notified them where the plane was.

Zollinger said it's amazing it ended up on in the median. "It must be smarter than me," he said.

Zollinger paid $3,500 for the plane. He's waited his entire life to own one, and said he can't give up on his dream now.

"I cashed in what I could cash in. I didn't tell my wife, and now I'm divorced."

Traffic was unaffected as the plane was lost, then reunited with its owner.


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