Friends and colleagues await further details about the condition of Aurora lawyer Kim Edward Presbrey, who suffered severe burns in a Florida plane crash on Monday night.
As of late Tuesday afternoon, Presbrey, managing partner of Presbrey & Associates P.C., remained in an Orlando, Fla., hospital's intensive care unit with third-degree burns to his face and back, said William H. Weir, a lawyer with Presbrey's firm. Presbrey's wife, two adult sons and his brother, a physician, are with him at the hospital, Weir said.
"The indications are good, but the jury is out," Weir said of Presbrey's condition.
Weir called Presbrey, 60, a past president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, a nationally recognized workers' compensation lawyer for injured workers.
Presbrey and another man were aboard a small experimental plane that crashed through the roof of a DeLand, Fla., Publix store.
DeLand police Lt. Jack Waples identified the plane's occupants as Presbrey and Thomas Rhoades. Authorities don't know which man piloted the plane, he said.
Fire consumed most of the plane, which plunged through a roof and landed between two aisles in the middle of the store. Three Publix supermarket customers also got injured, Waples said.
As of noon Tuesday, Presbrey and Rhoades remained in critical condition at Orlando Regional Medical Center, Waples said, adding he did not receive updated information about their conditions today.
Presbrey left the Chicago area over the weekend for a recreational trip to Florida, Weir said.
The amphibious Seawind 3000 plane encountered problems shortly after taking off from the DeLand Municipal Airport, about five miles from the shopping center, The Associated Press reported. Investigators remained unsure about the plane's destination.
The plane consists of composite material and was amateur-built in 2002. It seats four people but only two people were aboard, Luke Schiada, an investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), told The Associated Press.
The Federal Aviation Administration and NTSB continue to investigate the crash, Waples said.
Herbert H. Franks, a partner with Franks, Gerkin & McKenna P.C. in Marengo, called his friend Presbrey a "top-notch lawyer" and veteran pilot.
"I flew with him a lot of times," Franks said. "I'm just praying that he will recover quickly."
Presbrey, a Vanderbilt University Law School graduate, practiced workers' compensation law since 1977, says his biography on the firm's website.
Lawyer Arnold G. Rubin said he met Presbrey 25 years ago and the two became friends.
In the mid-1990s, Presbrey and Rubin worked together to lobby Illinois lawmakers about proposed changes to the state's Workers' Compensation Act, he said.
Presbrey "was a passionate representative for the interests of labor, for the interests of workers' compensation lawyers and for the interests of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association," he said.
Presbrey served as ITLA's president from 2001 to 2002.
Robert J. Bingle, managing partner of Corboy & Demetrio P.C., who succeeded Presbrey as ITLA president, said the two worked closely together on association matters.
Bingle called Presbrey a knowledgeable and "wonderfully affable fellow who people like."
Presbrey "is one of the most committed and dynamic supporters of the trial system," Bingle said. "He's just a wonderful asset to the entire legal community."
Bingle said, " I think everybody is praying that he will be OK and he will return to help us to do what's right here in Illinois."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.