DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. -- Lone Tree police identified the pilot Saturday who died in a plane crash Friday night as Dr. Robert D. Marquis. He started the Tiara Rado Animal Hospital in Grand Junction in 1983.
"Dr. Marquis and his wife live in Glade Park with their dogs Gracie and Enzo," his bio on the animal hospital's website says. "They love the outdoors, going camping, hiking, fishing, and taking their family and grandson with them. Always forward-thinking and active, his other interests include aviation – he is an instrument-rated private pilot, and serving on the Mesa County Search and Rescue Ground Team."
On Saturday afternoon, the Mesa County Search and Rescue Ground team posted a picture of Marquis to Facebook. Its caption said, in part, "Bob was the best of the best. He will be missed greatly [by] all of us that served with him and [knew] him as a friend."
Marquis' plane, a Cirrus SR22, went down near the Stepping Stone Subdivision between the town of Parker and I-25 shortly after takeoff from Centennial Airport. The crash happened around 8:22 p.m. according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
South Metro Fire Rescue said an occupied home in Parker was struck by a large piece of debris. A piece of the airplane's engine was embedded in the back wall of a house. The occupants who were inside the home were not hurt. No residents in the neighborhood were injured.
Investigators say the Cirrus SR22 left a large debris field in open space that abuts the neighborhood. No flight plan was filed, so it's not known where Marquis was going.
An NTSB spokeswoman said Saturday morning the pilot was the only person on the plane.
The FAA said Saturday the plane took off from Centennial Airport around 8:15 p.m. Friday night. Shortly after departing, Marquis indicated he wanted to return to the airport. He didn't say why he wanted to do that. The plane disappeared from radar and crashed into the field behind some homes on Pastel Point.
The FAA said the plane crashed under unknown circumstances.
Dozens of people came to the area where the plane went down to see what happened.
South Metro Fire Rescue described it as a high-speed impact and it was estimated the debris field covered about one acre.
At least two grid searches where conducted in the field late Friday night.
Lone Tree Police released a statement late Friday night. "Tonight at approximately 9 p.m., the Lone Tree Police Department responded to a single-engine aircraft crash near RidgeGate Parkway and Chambers Street. One fatality has been confirmed. LTPD, along with South Metro Fire Rescue, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Parker Police Department, Centennial Airport and National Transportation Safety Board, continue to search the area for debris. No residents in the area were injured."
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash. The NTSB said it will take 12-18 months to issue its report on the crash.