Brevard County

‘I want more answers’: Family left questioning after man trespasses KSC in search of ‘secret’ launchpad, killed by a train days later

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — A Volusia County man was trespassed from the Kennedy Space Center after his brother said he drove his truck onto a historic launchpad in search of a "secret launchpad."

Kenny Hutchinson’s family said he was fatally struck by a train 10 days later.

What happened leading up to his unauthorized search of KSC and the days before his death remain a mystery to his family.

Channel 9 reporter Steve Barrett spoke with his brother, John Hutchinson, Wednesday.

John Hutchinson said his brother’s downward spiral began when he was watching new power lines going up in Oak Hill leading to the KSC.

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He said they caused his 37-year-old brother to believe Elon Musk had built a secret launchpad.

John Hutchinson said his brother talked his way through a guard gate at KSC, saying he would do a U-turn and leave but instead traveled miles into the Space Center searching for a secret launchpad.

He ended up on the historic Launch Pad 39-B.

A NASA spokesman provided Channel 9 with the following statement:

“On Jan. 31, 2020, the individual referenced failed to obey our security police officer’s direction to make a U-turn at Gate No. 4 and depart the property. This individual drove south in the northbound lane of Kennedy Parkway inside the restricted area of KSC at speeds exceeding 80 mph. He took a left turn onto Happy Creek Road, then turned left onto A Avenue. After nearly a mile, he crashed through a gate, turned right on Patrol Road, smashed through another gate, then turned right onto Pad B Bypass Road. The subject eventually crashed into a trailer near the entrance to Pad B. Our security police units pursued the subject the entire time. He was taken into custody, issued several district court violation notices and transported off Center. His vehicle was not drivable and was towed off Center.”

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Kenny Hutchinson’s family said he was issued a trespass warning and he and his wife were driven off the property while his truck was impounded.

NASA’s statement makes no mention of Kenny Hutchinson’s wife.

According to documents Channel 9 reviewed, Kenny Hutchinson was only cited for failure to obey a traffic control device.

John Hutchinson said his brother was left by security in the Titusville area around midnight, and he walked about 20 miles to his Oak Hill home.

“He spiraled into a direction where he wasn’t worried about nothing but figuring something out,” John Hutchinson said of his brother.

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Ten days later, Skywitness 9 flew over the scene where Kenny Hutchinson was fatally struck by a train near his Oak Hill home.

A Volusia County Sheriff’s Office report said a train conductor spotted Kenny Hutchinson lying on the railroad tracks.

Kenny Hutchinson was killed while trying to stand and move away from the railway, the report said.

"He tried to get up. It was just too late, you know?" John Hutchinson said. "He was just in a daze, just couldn’t figure it all out -- trying to figure out so much stuff at once."

John Hutchinson said he is still left wondering why his brother was on the tracks and how he managed to get so far onto Space Center property days earlier without getting arrested.

In a statement, when asked why Kenny Hutchinson wasn’t arrested, Space Center officials said: “We don’t comment on security policies and procedures or activity.” Adding that all KSC security police officers have federal arrest authority.

“I’m far from being satisfied,” Hutchinson said. “Absolutely, I want more answers.”

Steve Barrett

Steve Barrett,

Reporter Steve Barrett returned to WFTV in mid-2017 after 18 months in the Twin Cities, where he worked as Vice President of Communications for an Artificial Intelligence software firm aligned with IBM.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson,

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.