The employees at Lackey’s Steak & Seafood Restaurant of Hamilton were gearing up for a typical Saturday evening when the strangest thing happened. A man walked into the restaurant and went straight through into the dishwashing area of the kitchen and sat down. He didn’t ask for anything or anybody, but just sat there. About five minutes later, owner Kenneth Lackey walked in and asked who he was. The staff told him they didn’t know, that they thought he was waiting there for Kenneth. When questioned by Kenneth, the man responded, “My girlfriend left me in the swamp.” Then he said that he’d been in a plane crash, found a map and walked out. The folks at Lackey’s found this a little hard to believe since the man was not wet or dirty, and had no visible physical trauma, except for a few skinned up knuckles, and most importantly, had not asked to use a phone. Thinking the guy was a little off, Kenneth told him to get out of the kitchen, and then called the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. He then saw the guy walk up to the salad bar and fix a salad. He did say he was really thirsty and asked for some water. He had only eaten half his salad when the officers showed up.
During questioning, it was determined that his name was Ricky Ford, III from Irvington, Alabama. He really had been in a plane crash and had been declared missing on Friday night. He had stopped to fuel up in Louisville, MS but was unable to, so he took off again. His plane went down behind the Tronox plant in Hamilton in an area that is very swampy. They found his plane, bottom up, behind the boat ramp at Tronox. It really was a miracle he survived. The Sheriff’s Officers took him to the hospital to have him checked out and his mother came to pick him up on Sunday to take him home. Lackey was glad he was okay, but stated, “I was confused as to how Mr. Ford could fly through the restricted air space of Columbus Air Force Base, undetected. Why didn’t they pick up on it the night of the crash?” The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the cause of the crash.0