On June 17, 1995, at 1230 central daylight time (CDT), a Piper PA-32RT-300, N21873, registered to Aviation Professionals of Chicago, Illinois, was substantially damaged while landing at Illinois Valley Regional Airport, Peru, Illinois. The commercial pilot and four passengers reported no injuries. The 14 CFR Part 91 pleasure flight originated from Kankakee, Illinois, at 1200 CDT without a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions existed at the time of the accident.

While on final approach to runway 18 (6000' x 100') at Illinois Valley Regional Airport, the pilot stated he noticed a quartering headwind from approximately 230 degrees. The pilot stated "I was keeping the necessary correction for the wind drift and I touched down on the centerline at 85-90 KIAS." The pilot stated the airplane bounced after touching down and it touched down again on the left side of the runway. "While I was keeping right aileron into the wind the plane bounced again and I realized that we were drifting further to the left," the pilot stated. He decided to perform a go around and applied full power. The pilot stated, "it took 2-3 seconds for the engine to increase it's RPM and while flying I hit the taxiway sign to the left of the [runway] with the left main gear. The plane continued to fly but the upper surface of the wing was damaged from the impact." The airplane took off and climbed to an altitude of 1000 feet above the ground. The pilot stated he then made two passes over the airport so that maintenance personnel could try and determine the extent of the damage to the left landing gear. Maintenance personnel determined that the gear was not locked in the down position. The pilot stated he then declared an emergency and decided to land on the grass adjacent to the runway. The pilot performed an emergency landing.

When asked how this accident could have been prevented, the pilot replied that he should have done a go around when he recognized the fact that the airplane was high on final. The pilot stated that this would have given him better crosswind control.

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