Fugitive Pilot Reported In Custody
Police in Quincy, Fla. say they've arrested an Indiana pilot who is alleged to have faked a distress call, parachuted from his Piper Meridian and fled a small Alabama town on a motorcycle he'd hidden there. Earlier, some authorities suspected Marcus Schrenker had managed to leave the country in his apparently determined bid to escape a crumbling business empire, criminal fraud charges, the wrath of disgruntled investors and a divorce. "He's shown a total disregard for human life. I think he'd do anything to get away," said David Latimer, chief of the police department in Harpersville, Ala., where Schrenker allegedly landed and had the brand-new Yamaha sport bike stashed in a storage unit he'd rented the day before. Flamboyant might be an understated description for Schrenker, who collected luxury cars, owned at least two airplanes and starred himself in a YouTube video in which he flies under bridges in the Bahamas in an Extra 300.
But it appears the unraveling of the basis for that extravagant lifestyle led to the reckless drama that played out late Sunday over the rural are near Birmingham, Ala. Schrenker told ATC that the windshield on the Meridian had imploded and he was covered in blood. Then the radio went dead. But the aircraft continued heading south at about 2,000 feet. Military aircraft intercepted and reported the windshield intact but the door open and the left seat empty. As the plane crashed in a swamp near Milton, on the Florida panhandle, Schrenker was hitching a ride to a hotel in Harpersville with a local policeman after claiming he'd been in a canoeing accident. After checking into the hotel under another name, surveillance video caught him getting on the motorcycle.