The airplane was destroyed at 1752 Central time when it collided with terrain shortly after takeoff. The Airline Transport pilot, the two passengers and a dog were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed. A witness standing next to an under-construction highway did not hear the airplane approaching until it was almost right over him. The airplane was extremely low, about 60-70 feet above the ground, with the landing gear retracted, in a shallow right turn towards the north. As the airplane crossed over the highway, it made a sharp right turn to the north and the witness thought the pilot was trying to land on the highway. However, as the airplane banked to the right, the nose of the airplane dropped, and the airplane rapidly descended toward the grass median located to the west of the highway. The witness said that he did not see any fire or smoke trailing the airplane while in flight, but he did hear a miss in the engine. He described the miss as a pop, but not as loud as the sound of a backfire.
The witness added that the airplane did not sound as loud as other airplanes do when they depart, and he felt that it was not making the power it needed to maintain altitude. The right wing contacted the ground and the airplane cartwheeled before it came to rest on an embankment and caught on fire. A post-impact fire consumed the cockpit and fuselage. Reported weather included wind from 160 degrees at 10 knots, gusting to 18 knots, visibility 10 statute miles and temperature of 97 degrees F.