Sadowski dies in plane crash

Editor’s note: The Palm Beach Post wrote this report on April 9, 1992.

Florida Department of Community Affairs Secretary William Sadowski and a state pilot were killed on April 9, 1992, when their plane crashed in a fog-covered forest in St. Augustine.

Sadowski, 48, a former Miami state legislator and chairman of the South Florida Water Management District Board of Directors, was considered one of the brightest and most dedicated public servants in the state.

“If there was an incarnation of a public servant, it would be Bill Sadowski,” said Governor Lawton Chiles, who persuaded Sadowski in 1991 to leave a successful career at a Miami law firm to become chief executive. an agency that administers state growth management. laws.

Veteran pilot Billy Martin, 50, was carrying Sadowski to a Chamber of Commerce breakfast at which he was the guest speaker when the plane crashed near the St. Augustine airport.

Martin, a 28-year-old state pilot, indicated no issues when he radioed the airport at 7:05 a.m., but investigators speculated he may have misjudged the runway as he approached the fog.

Initial reports from the Federal Aviation Administration and the State Aircraft Office said the plane was about 500 feet too low for the runway approach when its left wing clipped a large pine tree. The aircraft then flew through approximately 150 yards of forest before landing upside down and catching fire 1½ miles from the runway.

“This guy was a damn good pilot who’s been coming here for years,” said Jim Moser, director of general aviation at St. Augustine Airport. “There was no reason for this plane to be at this altitude.”

Sadowski was reluctant to take the job when he was named head of the agency that regulates Florida’s new development, coordinates emergency management and develops housing programs. He didn’t hide that he didn’t want to disturb his family.

Sadowski served in the Legislative Assembly from 1976 to 1982 and was considered one of the most liberal and respected members of the House. He opposed the death penalty, advocated for gun control, worked for workers’ compensation reform, and helped bring about landmark changes to the state’s water laws. ‘State.

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