On a Sunday evening earlier in August, Utah man Duane Youd was arrested after witnesses called the police reporting that he was assaulting his wife. The couple had reportedly been drinking and walked to a nearby canyon to talk about some unsolved relationship issues.
“They had been drinking and an argument broke out and he started hitting her and some witnesses called into police to say a guy was hitting a woman,” said arresting officer Noemi Sandoval.
Things had obviously gone sour and, after the police were called, he was arrested and jailed for suspicion of domestic violence. This was late Sunday night. After being bailed out between midnight and 1:00 AM Monday morning, Youd requested to return to his home and collect his belongings. He was escorted by police officers and he got his stuff without incident, then left.
All was quiet for a little while. Then at 2:30 in the morning, people in the neighborhood heard and saw a plane circling above the neighborhood, flying suspiciously, and dangerously, low. Youd, a pilot for a construction company, had presumably gone from his home directly to the plane and took off in the middle of the night. His wife and her son were in the house as this is happening but surely didn’t expect what was to come.
Youd and his wife had purchased their home last year. Most fixed rate home loans are 30-year fixed or 15-year fixed, but she may have to refinance things. As the plane circled lower and lower, Youd steered it and purposely crashed it into the front of their house. He died in the crash and as flames leaped up to consume the front of the house, his wife and her child were able to safely escape the blaze.
“It just got lower and lower. I said ‘Oh my gosh it’s going to hit the mountain. It’s going to hit the mountain. It’s getting lower.’ You can just see it getting lower. All of a sudden a huge ball of orange fire. I couldn’t believe it,” said a neighbor who witnessed the event.
Most of the house was somehow left fairly well intact, albeit visibly charred. Following a prior domestic violence issue earlier this year, Youd was already attending counseling as a part of his plea bargain that reduced the charge to disorderly conduct. In the levels of disorderly, we’d say crashing a plane into your occupied house is at the top of the list.