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Highway Patrol Pilot Killed in Chopper Crash Identified

Highway Patrol Pilot Killed in Chopper Crash Identified

Aircraft from the Missouri Highway Patrol Aircraft Division (photo courtesy MHP)

St. Louis Post Dispatch via YellowBrix

October 15, 2010

ST. LOUIS COUNTY — The pilot of a Missouri State Highway Patrol helicopter died in a crash in a residential subdivision in the Clarkson Valley area this morning.

No one on the ground was injured.

The pilot was Highway Patrol Sgt. Joe Schuengel, 47. He is a 17-year veteran of the patrol.

Capt. Tim Hull of the Highway Patrol’s headquarters in Jefferson City confirmed that the helicopter carried only Schuengel, who was killed on impact. Hull said the helicopter had been assigned to traffic enforcement.

“It’s never easy when one on our own officers is killed. It’s a tough situation,” Hull said.

Schuengel was interviewed by the Post-Dispatch in 2005, when a reporter attended a “Citizen’s Academy” at the highway patrol. He talked about the job and risk troopers face every day.

“When you get up in the morning and put on that uniform, you’ve got to be in the mind-set that you’re going to go home at night, " Schuengel said at the time. “You’re going to pull in the driveway, you’re going to see your family.”

Sgt. Al Nothum of the Highway Patrol said the copter came down on a street and did not hit any homes. He said the cause of the crash is unknown. FAA investigators are on their way to the scene to begin their probe, said FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory.

The helicopter dropped off several troopers in Jefferson County earlier and was returning to Spirit of St. Louis Airport in Chesterfield when it crashed about 11 a.m., officials said.

The tower at Spirit airport lost the helicopter from radar, then called in the St. Louis County police helicopter to fly over the area and see what happened, said Spirit’s director, John Bales.

Bales said there were no distress calls prior to the crash.

“Not at all,” Bales said. “I’m assuming it was something catastrophic that happened and he (the pilot) did everything he could to land it in a safe place.”

The copter crashed in the 1800 block of Horseshoe Ridge Road, in unincorporated St. Louis County between Chesterfield and Ballwin. The area is near the Forest Hills Country Club.

The subdivision is the Kehrs Mill Trail subdivision, consisting of 102 homes that each sit on two acres or more. The subdivision is surrounded by a forest and includes three lakes.

Poncho Grajeda, 40, said he was working on a home in the area when he heard the helicopter’s engine making loud noises. He said he saw it struggling in the air, then come straight down.


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  • Sarge2_max50

    Sgt131

    almost 4 years ago

    126 Comments

    Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
    Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
    of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
    You have not dreamed of—wheeled and soared and swung
    High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
    I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
    My eager craft through footless halls of air....
    Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
    I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
    Where never lark nor even eagle flew—
    And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
    The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
    Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

    (John Gillespie's "High Flight")

    RIP, Trooper.

  • Fake_sunset_max50

    arroyol

    almost 4 years ago

    696 Comments

    RIP

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    almost 4 years ago

    Rest my brother we have the watch.

  • Hpim0324_max50

    boritico

    almost 4 years ago

    928 Comments

    R.I.P.B.

  • Fallenherobadge-3-1_max50_max50

    aussie4

    almost 4 years ago

    5328 Comments

    God Bless Leo Schuengel and his family.

  • Suzanne07_max50

    Suzanne07

    almost 4 years ago

    252 Comments

    RIP, My heart-felt sympathy and prayers for your family through these troubled times.

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50

    Whalewatcher

    almost 4 years ago

    11226 Comments

    Another hero gone to Heaven, to sit at God's right hand. Rest in peace, Sgt. Schuengel.

  • Monster_pic_2_max50

    VERYRREAL

    almost 4 years ago

    112 Comments

    Thanks for your service to our wonderful country

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    station_100_2003

    almost 4 years ago

    552 Comments

    Rest In peace

  • Wtc-eagle3-b_max50

    NYPDALT

    almost 4 years ago

    3130 Comments

    RIP Sgt.

  • Nag_max50

    bsears

    almost 4 years ago

    9660 Comments

    RIP

  • Pug_max600_max50

    DALLASCRANE

    almost 4 years ago

    19382 Comments

    RIP Brother. Until we meet again.

  • Rafngreenblack_max50

    MH557

    almost 4 years ago

    194 Comments

    RIP my brother...

  • Garita2_max50

    Inxorte

    almost 4 years ago

    734 Comments

    RIPB

  • Gcpoms_max50

    jakester

    almost 4 years ago

    1148 Comments

    IN HONORE CASORUM
    Gone, but not forgotten.

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