Garrison widow remembers husband’s passion for parachuting - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Garrison widow remembers husband’s passion for parachuting

Source: Myrna Jernigan. Source: Myrna Jernigan.

Nacogdoches County officials have identified the man killed in a powered parachute crash near Garrison Sunday afternoon.

Sheriff Thomas Kerss said Roby Jernigan, 66 of Garrison, died after wind blew his aircraft into trees near FM 95.

"It was so beautiful yesterday, he said he was going to fly, I said ok, so that's what he did, we set him up out there and he took off," said Myrna Jernigan, victim's wife.

 Myrna Jernigan watched her husband take what would be his final flight yesterday in his powered parachute.

"This was the better way, he was doing something he wanted to do," said Jernigan.

 It's essentially a motor-driven parasail, something Roby Jernigan took up two years ago after recovering from triple bypass and colon surgeries.

"It has slowed him down, he hated to be slowed down," said Jernigan.

 According to Nacogdoches County Sheriff Thomas Kerss a gust of wind ended Jernigan's flight and his life.

"The wind caught the parasail and forced him into some nearby trees," says Kerss.

Myrna saw the crash and rushed to get a ladder.

By the time she made it to the tree, Roby had fallen nearly 12 feet.

She says Roby knew the risks but being in the air was his escape.

"Absolute freedom, freedom from all the hurt and the pain," said Jernigan.         

Neighbors like Herbert Stewart were used to seeing the uncommon aircraft.

"The first time I watched him I was kind of surprised, I didn't know someone in the neighborhood had a plane like that. It looked real safe," says Stewart.   

Sheriff's officials say the hobby is relatively safe and Jernigan's death appears to be a freak accident.

 After previous health scares, Myrna says her husband wanted to live each day to the fullest.

Her only comfort, knowing this is the way Roby wanted it to be.

 "I just thank God that he did go the way he did because he would not have liked to be hooked up to machines, he said that's no way of life," said Jernigan.


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