By Glenn Pew, Contributing Editor, Video Editor
According to police, pilot Brian Hedglin, 40, had been placed on leave by SkyWest after the carrier learned he was being investigated by police, and before Tuesday, when he hopped a razor-wire fence, boarded a CRJ200 and killed himself. The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Hedglin had previously been arrested for criminal mischief theft and harassment of his former girlfriend, and was released on a $10,000 bond. While out on bond and awaiting an August trial, Hedglin's former girlfriend was killed. Police became aware of the death, Friday, and at about midnight on Tuesday, Hedglin accessed St. George Municipal Airport, Utah. There, Hedglin allegedly boarded an aircraft, started it, damaged it and other property, and ultimately killed himself. The event has raised questions and security concerns.
Authorities had contacted SkyWest after learning about the murder of Hedglin's girlfriend to request that Hedglin's airport access cards be deactivated. The airline complied. But police say that didn't prevent Hedglin from gaining access to the airport and a regional jet. According to them, at about midnight Tuesday, Hedglin climbed a razor-wire fence and gained access to and started a Delta-owned, out-of-service CRJ200 operated by SkyWest. He then taxied the aircraft, allegedly clipping a terminal building and a fence, causing damage to the aircraft. "After failing to get the plane airborne," says The Associated Press, "Hedglin took his own life." Authorities say that while Hedglin had become a suspect in the murder of his ex-girlfriend, his death does not bring closure to that case and investigators will continue their work. Hedglin became a licensed flight instructor in 1998 and earned an airline transport pilot certificate in 2008.