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Spirit Airlines pilot’s suspected overdose draws national attention

Published: Friday, March 17, 2017 @ 5:08 PM

Their deaths could be drug related.

Federal Aviation Administration officials said the medical certifications of the deceased Spirit Airlines pilot from Centerville who died of a likely drug overdose were up-to-date but have not said why the agency’s publicly-available database used by crash investigators suggests he was unable to fly any aircraft in the United States.

The four children of Brian Halye, a pilot, and Courtney Halye found the couple dead in the bedroom of their Centerville home Thursday in Montgomery County Coroner’s Office Director Ken Betz called a “probable accidental drug overdose.”

FIRST REPORT: Overdoses likely cause of death of Centerville couple

Betz said examinations on the couple have been completed, but a final determination on the cause and manner will take six weeks until toxicology reports are completed. Since Jan. 1, Montgomery County has had 155 accidental drug overdoses, Betz said.

The case attracted national media attention Friday.

Officer John Davis, Centerville Police spokesman, said, “I think maybe just where it occurred, and what occurred, has drawn some attention to that. I know that the speculation as to Mr. Halye’s employment has also drawn attention to it. That’s not the focus of our investigation at this time.”

Investigators have not given any indication the Spirit Airlines pilot used drugs prior to his death. Brian Halye’s last flight for the company before his death was March 10, a Spirit Airlines spokesman said.

RELATED: What is fentanyl and how does it kill?

Questions remain about why a federal database did not show up-to-date information on Brian Halye.

Aviation safety expert Shawn Pruchnicki of Ohio State University told the Dayton Daily News the database is one of the tools used by the National Transportation Safety Board during investigations of air disasters.

MORE ON DRUG-RELATED DEATH EPIDEMIC IN THE MIAMI VALLEY

The FAA told the Dayton Daily News on Thursday that Brian Halye had a valid first-class medical certificate allowing him to fly. But the agency could not definitively answer why the public database of airmen indicated the certificate expired more than four years ago.

The Dayton Daily News has filed a federal Freedom of Information Act request for Brian Halye’s medical certificates.

Pilots must hold valid medical certificates in order to fly. The Airline Transport Pilot certificate, which he held, requires a first-class medical certificate, which must be updated every 12 months for a pilot under the age of 40. Brian Halye was 36.

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The FAA database lists Brian Halye’s medical certificate date as September, 2011, more than five years ago. No class of pilot is allowed to go that long without a medical exam. Asked Thursday to double check, Cory said Brian Halye’s certificate was up-to-date, with it due to expire this fall.

“I’m not sure why the online database does not have that information,” Cory said in an email to the Dayton Daily News on Thursday. “The system could be in the process of update.”

The database is updated each federal working day at midnight, according to the FAA’s website.

Cory said she asked another FAA employee on Thursday to check Brian Halye’s medical certification. The employee, a medical doctor, Cory said, “went into the airman’s file and looked it up.”

“The online database is one of many that we have,” she said Friday. “It is a very basic listing of name and certificate. It is separate from an in-depth medical file. It is not the only database we have.”

WHERE IS THE PROBLEM? More than half of Montgomery County’s opioid deaths in alarming spike were outside of Dayton

Pruchnicki, a lecturer at OSU’s Center for Aviation Studies and a pharmacist, said he’s never had a problem seeing his medical certifications in the airmen database.

“I’ve always been able to pull up my own medicals to see,” said Pruchnicki, a former Comair pilot, after hearing about the FAA’s response to the newspaper. 

The newspaper has asked Spirit Airlines if it is conducting an internal investigation into Brian Halye’s death. The airline did not respond at time of publication.

Martin Rottler, also an OSU lecturer, said he did not expect “anything nefarious” was going on with the FAA’s records.

“They have several hundred pilot records that are in there,” Rottler said. “The carriers and the FAA have better records and far greater records than what you’ll find on the FAA database.”

Brian Halye had two children from a previous marriage, as did Courtney Halye. Her former husband, Jacob Castor, died in August 2007 from an accidental drug overdose, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.

Two of the children attend Centerville schools. The other two attend Spring Valley Academy.

Spring Valley released a statement Friday that read in part: ” … we are doing all we can to provide all appropriate support for them and all their classmates who are affected by this heartbreaking loss. As a Christian community we take comfort in the promise of ultimate healing, restoration, and resurrection but at the moment we are deeply grieving with our students and their families.”

$338M Powerball winner accused of child sex abuse

Published: Thursday, September 21, 2017 @ 9:56 AM

Winner Of $338M Powerball Jackpot Accused Of Child Sex Abuse

A New Jersey man who made headlines in 2013 when he won a $338 million Powerball jackpot has been arrested on suspicion of child sexual assault, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

Pedro Quezada, 49, is accused of sexually assaulting a girl over the course of three years, starting when she was 11 years old, NJ.com reported. He faces charges of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, two counts of second-degree sexual assault and one count of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia Valdes said.

It was not immediately clear when the sexual abuse was alleged to have occurred.

A judge ordered Quezada held without bail Wednesday, according to The Record. His attorney, Steve Wukovits, told the newspaper that his client was targeted.

“He has money,” Wukovits told The Record. “That’s why he’s being targeted in this case.”

Quezada won a $338 million Powerball jackpot in 2013 and took his winnings in a lump-sum payout that amounted to $152 million after taxes, NJ.com reported.

“My life will change because of it – so much money – but it will not change my heart,” Quezada said after his win.

Quezada is scheduled to appear in court for a detention hearing Sept. 25.

Ex-Dayton Children’s doctor sex crimes trial date set

Published: Thursday, September 21, 2017 @ 9:37 AM

Arun Aggarwal
Arun Aggarwal

The sex assault case of a former Dayton Children’s doctor will head to trial in 2018, according to court records.

Arun Aggarwal, 40, faces four counts of gross sexual imposition for allegedly touching two female teenage patients’ breasts. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

PREVIOUS: Former Children’s doctor arraigned in court

His trial date is set for Jan. 22 after a final pre-trial conference on Jan. 11, Judge Mary Wiseman said.

Aggarwal is a former pediatric gastroenterologist at Dayton Children’s. The incidents allegedly occurred between Dec. 23, 2013, and Nov. 10, 2014. The charges are fourth-degree felonies.

A request to Aggarwal’s attorney for comment was not immediately returned.

Aggarwal was arrested in August after attempting to flee the country, according to the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office. Aggarwal was arrested in Washington D.C. after flying from Cleveland to Dulles International Airport in an attempt to catch a connecting flight to India.

MORE: Board revokes license of doctor accused of touching two teens’ breasts

A 2015 investigation by Dayton police concluded with the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office declining to take the case to grand jury because one of the alleged victims wouldn’t testify, according to records obtained by the Dayton Daily News.

An investigation by the Dayton Daily News this year found hospital and university administrators opted not to report the allegations against Aggarwal to police. After the first complaint, they issued him a warning. After the second, they set up a policy requiring a nurse or other health professional to be in the room whenever he examined a female patient over the age of 10.

Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck said he re-opened the case because additional evidence came out during testimony about the accusation before the state medical board. The board in May revoked Aggarwal’s medical license.

Aggarwal told state medical board investigators that his actions were medically necessary as parts of examinations of the two girls.

MORE: Records reveal hospital debate over sexual misconduct allegations

In announcing the charges, Heck said allegations like those made against Aggarwal should be brought to law enforcement immediately.

Police learned of the allegations when a Children’s manager reported it to police on her own.

Since then, Dayton Children’s has said they have strengthened their processes in responding to allegations of this nature and have implemented “one of the most stringent chaperone policies in the country.”

Body found behind abandoned house ID’d as Kettering woman

Published: Friday, September 15, 2017 @ 6:02 PM
Updated: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 @ 11:45 PM

FROM SCENE: Detectives respond to body found in Dayton

UPDATE @ 11:45 p.m. (Sept. 20):

The Kettering woman found dead in Dayton under suspicious circumstances is survived by two children.

The body of Deanna Prendergast, 39, was found Friday behind a vacant home in a neighborhood off North Main Street.

“When the public found her, they indicated there was some kind of door on her,” Dayton police Sgt. Creigee Coleman said.

READ: Man recovered from Wolf Creek in Dayton was focus of endangered missing alert

Officers found two steak knives and a phone close to Prendergast’s body. She had abrasions and it appeared she’d been there for some time, according to a Dayton police report.

The discovery shocked Prendergast’s neighbors in Kettering. One woman, who didn’t want to be identified, said Prendergast left her home a few months ago and had been seen panhandling at street corners in Kettering and Dayton.

READ: 2 motorcycle crash in Fairborn sends 3 to hospital

“Saw her on Main Street with the same sign, ‘homeless have two kids, anything will help,’ ” the former neighbor said. “It’s sad. My heart breaks for her children.”

The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office has not determined a cause of death for Prendergast.

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UPDATE @ 9:25 a.m. (Sept. 19): 

A woman who was found dead behind an abandoned house in Dayton has been identified by the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office as Deanna Prendergast, 39, of Kettering. 

TRENDING: Woman sues Ohio funeral home, alleges baby’s ashes were mishandled

Prendergast’s cause of death and results of her autopsy are still pending. 

UPDATE @ 11:11 a.m. (Sept. 18):

A Dayton police report revealed knives and “overdose evidence” were recovered from the scene where a woman’s body was found “covered in insects” and “in a significant state of decomposition” Friday afternoon.

The woman’s identity has not been released pending notification of family, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.  An autopsy on the woman had not yet happened on Monday morning, a spokesman said.

LOCAL NEWS: 5 overdose patients driven to Sidney hospital

Officers responded to a vacant house on East Hudson Avenue after someone called police saying someone was found deceased with a wooden door over her, the report said.

The woman was not clothed, according to the report.

A black cell phone and two kitchen-style steak knives were found near her body.  The report also said the woman “appeared to have multiple abrasions on her body.”

Due to the suspicious circumstances surrounding the woman’s death homicide detectives were called to investigate.

The coroner’s office has not determined how the woman died.

UPDATE @ 7:40 p.m. (Sept. 15)

Homicide detectives are leading the investigation into the death of a woman whose body was found early this evening face down behind an abandoned house in Dayton.

“At this particular time it is undetermined the way this person passed away,” Dayton police Sgt. Creigee Coleman said.

The body found is that of a white woman who appears to be between 35 and 40. She has not been identified, but Coleman said the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office will be performing an autopsy.

The woman was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Dayton Fire Department, Coleman said. No drug paraphernalia was found near the woman, and there was no obvious trauma to her body.

>>>More police and crime news

A witness said it appeared a door was placed on top of the body but Coleman said he was not able to substantiate that report. Also, it’s not known whether the woman died where she was found in back of 17 E. Hudson Ave. or was placed there.

“We need the help of the public, we need the help of witnesses to come forward to determine how this lady passed away,” Coleman said. “It’s not fair for this lady to die in this manner and nobody to come forward.”

UPDATE @ 6:55 p.m.

Dayton police Sgt. Creigee Coleman said the body found was that of a female. It is still too early to tell how she died, he said.

UPDATE @ 6:30 p.m.

The body found next to a vacant house did not die recently, according to a Dayton police call log. 

The deceased person found in back next to the garage is covered, according to reports.

FIRST REPORT

Detectives are responding to a body found early this evening in Dayton.

The deceased person was found at 17 E. Hudson Ave., according to the Montgomery County Regional Dispatch Center.

The body was next to a garage behind DJ's Furniture, 2100 N. Main St.

The gender of the deceased person nor manner of death was immediately available.

We have a crew on the way and will update this report as we learn details.

Sheriff’s deputy arrested, accused of stealing cash, credit cards from crime scene

Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 @ 11:00 PM

An Orange County deputy was arrested on allegations he stole cash, credit cards and a wallet from a crime scene.
WFTV.com
An Orange County deputy was arrested on allegations he stole cash, credit cards and a wallet from a crime scene.(WFTV.com)

An Orange County deputy was arrested Tuesday on allegations he stole cash, credit cards and a wallet from a crime scene Sunday.

Deputies said the deputy, Joseph Haddad, responded to a burglary. The case evolved into a narcotics investigation in which the person who reported the burglary, Sammy Shehata, was arrested for allegedly possessing marijuana.

>> Read more trending news

Shehata asked deputies if he could gather his belongings and while doing so noticed his wallet, $1,750 and credit cards were missing.

Shehata said Haddad was inside the house when he went to retrieve his things.

“He even said, ‘Well, I don’t have it.’ It’s not like I asked him if he had it,” Shehata said.

An investigation was launched against Haddad, and Osceola County deputies discovered the cards had been used in their jurisdiction.

Shehata said that, when he got out jail, he had notifications from his bank that his credit cards had been used, so he reported it to the sheriff’s office.

Osceola County deputies assisted with the investigation, which led to Haddad’s arrest after a search of his home.

He was booked into the Osceola County Jail on a grand theft charge.

According to the charging affidavit, Haddad and his wife were seen on camera using Shehata’s cards at Target and Walmart in Osceola County.

The report said they bought a baby crib, baby monitor, clothing, household goods and other baby supplies.

When questioned, Haddad told investigators he accidentally took the wallet while processing evidence and that it wasn’t until he got to Target that he realized he was using someone else’s credit card.

Haddad was relieved of duty without pay and was stripped of his law enforcement authority.

He was hired by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in April 2016.

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings released a statement about the incident Wednesday.

“The facts in this case are troubling to me. The Orange County Sheriff's Office is not a place for a liar or thief to work. I am committed to ensuring that such individuals are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and that they will be fired.”