- Duane Youd, 47, died early Monday morning after crashing a plane into the Utah home where his wife and stepson were sleeping.
- Youd’s unnamed wife and her son escaped the home uninjured.
- The incident happened just hours after Youd was arrested for attacking his wife.
A Utah man flew a small plane into his own house early Monday just hours after he had been arrested for assaulting his wife in a nearby canyon where the couple went to talk over their problems, authorities said.
The pilot, Duane Youd, died. His wife and stepson who were sleeping in the home escaped uninjured despite the front part of the two-story house being engulfed in flames, Payson police Sgt. Noemi Sandoval said.
Sandoval said it was a “miracle” that more people weren’t hurt.
“It could have been so much worse,” she told reporters at the scene.
The crash occurred at about 2:30 a.m. in Payson, a city of about 20,000 60 miles south of Salt Lake City.
Investigators believe the twin-engine Cessna 525 belonged to a construction company Youd worked for and that he intentionally flew it into his own house; Sandoval said he was an experienced pilot.
Youd, 47, was arrested about 7:30 p.m. Sunday after witnesses called police to report that he was assaulting his wife, Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon said. The couple had been drinking and went to American Fork Canyon to talk about problems they were having, authorities said.
Witnesses saw Youd drag his wife out of the truck and punch her during the assault, according to Fox 13. When he tried to drive away in the truck, the witnesses say the wife got in the bed and Youd started driving erratically. Police arrested him soon after.
Youd was booked on suspicion of domestic violence and posted bail, Cannon said. Youd requested an officer escort him to his home so he could get his truck and some belongings around midnight. That occurred without incident, Sandoval said.
- Youd is seen taking off shortly before he crashed the plane into his home early Monday morning.
Within hours, Youd was taking off in the plane from the Spanish Fork-Springville Airport about 15 miles north of his house, according to surveillance footage obtained by KSL. He flew directly to his neighborhood and smashed into his house, Sandoval said.
Photos of the wreckage showed the white plane charred and in pieces in the front yard nearby an overturned and crushed car. Most of the upscale house was still intact, but heavily burned in the front. Youd and his wife bought the 2,700 square foot house valued at nearly $400,000, in 2016 in a quiet subdivision of new homes near the foothills, county property records show.
The plane barely missed power lines and other homes, Sandoval said. The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.
Police said they are aware of at least one other domestic violence incident that happened at the Youd home this year, according to the Deseret News. Youd was arrested for disorderly conduct in April and pleaded guilty in July. As part of his probation, he agreed to undergo marriage and family counseling.
Parker Youd, Youd’s 17-year-old son from a previous marriage, was at the home on Sunday when his father came home to gather his things. He believes he is the last person to have spoken to him.
- Youd’s wife and stepson escaped the home, which became engulfed in flames after the incident.
- Gephardt Daily
“He said ‘I love you, good luck, I’ll see you tomorrow,’” Parker told KSL. “(I said) ‘I love you too,’ and then he got into his truck and drove away.”
Joslyn, Youd’s daughter, drove up from Arizona when she heard the news.
She told the Deseret News that her father and her stepmother had been having problems lately and that he had been “hurting” and “in a lot of pain.”
Both Parker and Joslyn spoke highly of their father, who they called “loving” and “hardworking.”
“He’s not this person that’s being portrayed. … I feel very, very, very, blessed to call him my father,” Joslyn said.
Youd, who went by the nickname “Rhedd,” used to fly for Pinnacle Airlines, which is now called Endeavor Air. According to his Facebook, he learned to fly at Utah Valley University and once worked as a medevac in Alaska. He was also the owner of Rhedd’s Tint and Trim, a car detailing service in Payson.
It is the second bizarre airplane incident in recent days. On Friday an employee stole a turboprop plane from Sea-Tac International Airport in Seattle and flew it for more than an hour before dying in a crash on an island southwest of Tacoma.