Former Victoria cardiologist dies in Mississippi private plane crash

JR Ortega By JR Ortega

April 11, 2011 at 4 p.m.
Updated April 10, 2011 at 11:11 p.m.

A former cardiologist who worked at DeTar Hospital Navarro for two years died Sunday morning in a private plane crash in Mississippi.

The pilot, Dr. Taylor Pickett, 52, his wife Laura Pickett, 22, and her sister Jacquelyn Ham, 29, all died after their plane went down in McComb, Miss., early Sunday morning, according to the Associated Press.

Pickett worked at Memorial Health System of East Texas, lived in Lufkin, and had practiced and traveled to several other hospitals in the state.

However, before moving to Lufkin, Pickett worked as a cardiologist at DeTar from August 2007 to April 2009, said Judith Barefield, DeTar spokeswoman.

"We are saddened by this tragic loss and extend our most sincere condolences to the family at this difficult time," said Bill Blanchard, DeTar chief executive operator.

The three were traveling from New Orleans, La., to McComb when the Cessna 310R crashed into some trees just outside the McComb-Pike County Airport, the Associated Press reported.

Dr. Harish Chandna, a Victoria cardiologist, worked closely with Dr. Pickett and his partner Dr. Devinder Bhatia. Bhatia had notified Chandna of Pickett's death on Sunday.

"We were in shock. He was hard-working," Chandna said about his colleague. "He had done close to 150 open heart surgeries."

Chandna remembers Pickett would fly to Houston and other cities to keep up with his practice, he said.

"I flew with him actually in his plane. He was a good pilot," Chandna said.

From what Chandna remembers, Pickett had been flying since he was 18 years old.

Pickett and his wife left behind four children, two from Pickett's previous marriage and two with his wife, according to reports.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.



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