CROZET, Va (AP) — A woman told authorities that a pilot had “a couple of drinks” shortly before he took off in a small airplane and fatally crashed in Virginia, according to a National Transportation Safety Board report released this week.
The 51-year-old pilot, Kent Carr, had twice the allowed limit of ethanol — the intoxicating ingredient in alcohol — in his system at the time of the crash, as well as a common antihistamine that can potentially cause drowsiness, the board's report stated, citing autopsy results.
Regulations prohibit anyone from acting as an airplane crew member within eight hours of having alcohol, the report noted.
A woman identified as a friend of the pilot told investigators she thought Carr was going to a hotel because it was getting dark, but airport security video instead showed him taking off from the Richmond Executive–Chesterfield County Airport on the night of April 15, 2018.
Carr had not filed a flight plan when he left in the private Cessna 525 and headed toward the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport, a 2018 preliminary report said. About 30 minutes after takeoff, the plane plunged into trees and then hit a slope near Crozet, about 15 miles (25 kilometers) from his destination, according to the new report. The impact left a 4-foot (1-meter) crater in the ground.
Severe weather and tornado warnings were reported during his flight, and a witness told investigators that heavy rain was falling when he heard an engine screaming and felt the ground shake as the plane crashed near him, the final report said.