Topeka doctor among 2 men killed in plane crash near Billard Airport

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Two people are reported dead in a small plane crash near Billard Airport.

The plane went down around 8:30 p.m. Monday in a field near the airport. The Kansas Highway Patrol told 13 NEWS two people were killed.

Those people were later identified as 61-year old William Leeds and 55-year old James Bergman of Leawood.

Leeds was a doctor with Pulmonary and Sleep Associates in Topeka. The clinic's office manager, Hope Biggs, confirmed to 13 News Tuesday morning that Leeds worked at the clinic. Biggs says their top priority is "getting patients taken care of."

Leeds' profile on the clinic's website says he started Topeka Pulmonary in 1998, which later became Pulmonary and Sleep Associates.

Authorities say Bergman was a flight instructor and flying as co-pilot with Leeds. Bergman is listed to have several pilot licenses.

Staff at the National Weather Service office at Billard Airport called 911 to report the crash.

KHP crash logs state the aircraft was traveling southeast to northwest, and appeared to miss the runway, striking the ground at a high rate of speed. The plan impacted and turned about 180 degrees, where it came to rest in a grass field in between the runway and the taxi road to the airport terminal.

Eric Johnson, head of the Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority, said Topeka Police, Topeka Fire, Kansas Highway Patrol and MTAA police and fire were among agencies responding. He said the FAA will be notified to assist in the investigation.

Johnson said the airport's tower closes at 7 p.m., so would not have had communication with the aircraft.

A 13 NEWS search of FAA records shows the aircraft was a 1965 Piper PA-30 twin engine aircraft. KHP crash logs later confirmed that detail.

Correction: The Kansas Highway Patrol crash log originally stated Leeds as being from Mission, Kansas, and that he was 76 years old. 13 News has corrected the error. The KHP crash log will also be corrected.