SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – The president of a Utah company whose small plane was used by a man who crashed into his own Payson house says the pilot had access to the plane because he had earned the firm’s trust.
Leon Van Sickle, president of the VanCon, Inc., a general engineering company, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Duane Youd was a “rock-solid” employee during his 13 months as company pilot.
He says Youd had the access code to the airplane hangar, but had no idea he was taking the plane.
Authorities say Youd flew into his house in Payson early Monday at about 2:30 am. His wife and her 24-year-old son in the home escaped after the two-story house was engulfed in flames. Authorities had not disclosed how Youd had access to his company’s plane.
Youd had posted bail hours earlier after witnesses reported seeing him assault his wife. He had taken the airplane from the Spanish Fork-Springville Airport which has no traffic control monitoring according to airport manager Cris Child.
Payson Police also mentioned people may be curious to go see the house, but they should not trespass. They will continue to patrol the area.
This story has been corrected based on updated information from police to show that the other person in the house was the woman’s 24-year-old son, not a child.
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