Deputy Sheriff Scott Ballantyne Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, California End of Watch: Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Deputy Sheriff Scott Ballantyne | Tulare County Sheriff's Office, CaliforniaTulare County Sheriff's Office, California

Deputy Sheriff Scott Ballantyne

Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, California
End of Watch: Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Biographical Info

Age: 52
Tour of Duty: Not available
Badge Number: Not available

Incident Details

Cause of Death: Aircraft accident
Date of Incident: February 10, 2016
Weapon Used: Not available
Suspect Info: Not available

Agency Contact Information

Sheriff Mike Boudreaux
Tulare County Sheriff’s Office
2404 West Burrel Avenue
Visalia, CA 93291
Phone: (559) 636-4625

Deputy Sheriff Scott Ballantyne and Mr. James Chavez, a civilian pilot, were killed in an airplane crash near Lake Success at approximately 4:15 pm.
The aircraft was assisting deputies on the ground search for a subject wanted for brandishing a firearm. It was preparing to leave the area after the suspect was arrested when it suddenly lost altitude and crashed into a mountain.
Deputy Ballantyne and Mr. Chavez were the only two occupants of the CTLE ultralight.


The bodies of Deputy Scott Ballantyne and pilot James Chavez were removed from the crash scene in a late night procession, led by law enforcement agencies, to the Tulare County Coroner’s Office.

Officials tell me both bodies have been removed from wreckage. Law enforcement did a procession to coroner’s office.

— Vanessa Vasconcelos (@VanessaABC30) February 11, 2016

The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office says the plane was on a call in the area, assisting with the arrest of a man who was brandishing a handgun. The man was arrested and the plane was leaving the call when it crashed into the side of a mountain ridge.

Both victims who died were veterans in their field. Deputy Scott Ballantyne and pilot James Chavez were both highly respected employees who flew on the plane known as Sheriff One quite often. Deputy Ballantyne has been with the department more than two decades.

What we know about @TulareSheriff Deputy Scott Ballantyne who died tonight in Tulare Co plane crash.

— Veronica Miracle (@VeronicaABC30) February 11, 2016

Sheriff’s pilot James Chavez was only with the department for about a year. He also served as a Black Hawk pilot for the California Army Reserve National Guard and assisted on search and rescue missions for the county.

What we know about @TulareSheriff Civilian Pilot James Chavez who died in plane crash earlier tonight.

— Veronica Miracle (@VeronicaABC30) February 11, 2016

Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux says the families of both of the men are devastated. "Our hearts go out the families — as they are the family of the sheriff’s office and we consider them close friends. We ask that the community say prayers for the officers and their families as this is a very, very difficult time for us."
It’s still too early to tell what caused the plane to go down. The aircraft had been with the department since 2011 and was used five to six days a week. Officials say they gave no distress signal or mayday call before plunging into the hillside.
One woman in the community of Springville says she saw the impact of the crash. "Kinda like went outside and I seen (sic) this plane come up over the top of the mountain and there was another one going in the other direction and then the plane comes down and hits and all you see is smoke and a bunch of fire," said Nita Buck, Springville.

@ABC30 another pic of the crash #abc30insider

— Dr JC Kuivenhoven (@DrKuivenhoven) February 11, 2016

ABC30 insider John Kuivenhoven took a picture of the crash. He was driving the back roads in the area when he saw smoke. So he parked his car and then saw something fully engulfed in flames. "They said it was a plane so I thought maybe there’s a little bit of fuselage left, cause it was really black and charred. And you couldn’t really see anything else– if there was a plane it was pretty much disintegrated," said Kuivenhoven.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will be sending officials on Thursday to further investigate the cause of this crash. At this time, it is still unclear what caused the crash.
The sheriff said the plane was a two seater plane that was selected for its reliability and safety and had 3,000 hours of flight time on it with no prior problems.

Sheriff One – the 2 seater plane that crashed. The plane had 3000 hours of flight time with no prior issues.


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