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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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  • Photo_user_blank_big

    npd783

    almost 4 years ago

    1156 Comments

    Rest in peace Honored Brother.

  • 25-1-13-a_1__max50

    SkoolCop

    almost 4 years ago

    4582 Comments

    RIP

  • Police_link_badge_max50

    HEYSARGE

    almost 4 years ago

    16726 Comments

    RIP

  • Eod_max50

    EOD300

    almost 4 years ago

    2278 Comments

    Rest In Peace, Brother...

  • Officer_down2_max160_max50_max50

    buck

    almost 4 years ago

    1290 Comments

    God bless and rest in peace.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    bluebrother

    almost 4 years ago

    774 Comments

    He died doing what he loved. Rest in peace.

  • 1981_max50

    SGT43

    almost 4 years ago

    332 Comments

    RIP Brother!

  • Absolutelawenf_max50

    ksphatcop

    almost 4 years ago

    1744 Comments

    Rest in Peace

  • Untitledma28839986-0002_max50

    Irishcop1961

    almost 4 years ago

    50482 Comments

    Rest in Peace Sgt. Schuengel.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    almost 4 years ago

    RIP Sgt. Joe Schuengel.May You fly high with The Angels watching over Your Loved Ones and Fellow Officers doing the job You Loved so.I will light A Candle in Your Honor.God Bless You and Your Family Always & Forever.You will never be Forgotten for who You were and all You have done.God Bless You Sergent Joe Schuengel.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    almost 4 years ago

    R.I.P. Brother

  • Aug_sept_2007_098_max50

    popcop

    almost 4 years ago

    312 Comments

    RIP Brother, my prayers are with your family and friends.....

  • Mike___odin_max50

    ppc

    almost 4 years ago

    188 Comments

    RIP my thoughts and prayers aere with the Family and fellow LEO'S

  • Draped_badge_max50

    184retired

    almost 4 years ago

    3806 Comments

    RIP sgt. Prayers are with your family and friends... Love those helos but they have their problems...

  • _47_ford_9-11-10_max50

    RGKS3

    almost 4 years ago

    116 Comments

    RIP Sgt. Joe Schuengel,

    Prayers to your family & friends.

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