Spirit Airlines pilot’s suspected overdose draws national attention

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

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.

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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.


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.”

Troy police started pursuit, terminated it before deadly crash

Published: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 @ 8:25 PM

            Jordan Harville

Nine Troy police officers responded to the report of a stolen vehicle that spurred Monday’s high-speed police pursuit that ended with the death of an innocent driver in Harrison Twp.

Troy police — who have a pursuit policy requiring an “immediate need for apprehension” — initiated the chase but later terminated it before the fatal crash that killed Anthony Hufford, 28, of Englewood.

RELATED: Suspect in fatal police chase crash begs deputies ‘Kill me’

Tipp City police Chief Eric Burris confirmed that one of his officers was the lead pursuer after Troy dropped back. Burris said another Tipp City officer fell back and radioed the lead cruiser, but that communication channels were garbled and the lead Tipp City officer never got the message.

Burris said it took 30 to 45 seconds for that officer to get to the scene and, by that time, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office deputies already had the suspect in custody.

“The Troy Police Department and others were involved in the pursuit of a stolen vehicle that was driving at a high rate of speed and in a reckless manner,” said Troy police Capt. Shawn McKinney via a press release. “The criminal investigation of the incident is ongoing with the prosecutors’ office and other jurisdictions.”

RELATED: Crash victim stayed behind to care for ailing grandmother

Jordan Anthony Russell Harville, 24, of Clayton, allegedly stole a Ford F-250 pickup from near Fletcher. He later led multiple jurisdictions on a 25-plus mile chase that ended when the pickup struck a car driven by Hufford on South Dixie Drive.

The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office said Hufford, 28, died of blunt force injuries. Harville told police he was drunk and used heroin during the pursuit.

Troy police’s six-page pursuit policy states that pursuits are prohibited unless both of the following conditions are met: 1. There is probable cause to believe that the person(s) to be pursued is committing or has committed an offense which presents risk of serious physical harm or death. 2. There is an immediate need for apprehension.

RELATED: Wild week on local roads as police chase second, third vehicles

Dispatch calls obtained by this news organization include one in which one dispatcher asks another: “In reference to that chase coming south on Dixie, what are they chasing for?”

In a second call, a male dispatcher says, “It’s county. Are you guys chasing somebody?” and a female voice responds, “Hang on.”

RELATED: 5 things to know about deadly police pursuit

Miami County Sheriff’s Office deputies heard a report of a stolen vehicle, and one deputy wrote that he heard a Troy police officer say he spotted the vehicle starting to pull away and that he initiated a pursuit, according to court records filed in Miami County Municipal Court.

“An administrative review of the pursuit will be completed once all the information from the several agencies is available,” Troy police’s release read. “It would be premature to comment on the pursuit until such a review has taken place.”

Court documents show that both Miami County deputies and Vandalia police tried to deploy spike strips but were unable to safely do so. Communication also was an issue, as three departments were on one radio channel.

RELATED: Troopers not involved in deadly chase

“Throughout the pursuit the radio traffic was full of static, squealed and was unable to be heard,” a Miami County deputy wrote. The same deputy also wrote that he heard Troy terminate their role and that a Tipp City cruiser took the lead.

“While on Dixie I observed several Montgomery County agencies parked on the side of the road but had not seen any pursuing,” the deputy wrote, adding that he thought an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper was going to take the lead, but did not. An OSHP spokesperson said Troy police would handle the investigation and said troopers did not take part in the pursuit.

Suspect in fatal police chase crash begs deputies ‘Kill me’

Published: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 @ 2:30 PM
Updated: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 @ 6:07 PM

Jordan Anthony Russell Harville said he was drunk and did heroin during the Monday police pursuit that led to the death of an innocent motorist, according to police and court sources.

At least three law enforcement agencies actively took part in the pursuit through Miami and Montgomery counties.

RELATED: Chase suspect told deputies he used heroin during pursuit

Harville, 24, of Clayton called himself a “dope fiend” after police say he drove the stolen Ford F-250 into a Honda Accord driven by Anthony Hufford on North Dixie Drive in Harrison Twp. The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office said Hufford, 28, of Englewood, died of blunt force injuries and the manner of death was an accident.

“Kill me, please kill me,” Harville told Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office deputies, according to reports. “Harville screamed ‘My (expletive) life is ruined.’”

Harville also said he was a “a dope fiend,” the deputy reported, and asked, “You think I give a (expletive) about my life?’”

Harville had his bond set at $75,000 on Tuesday in Miami County Municipal Court; officials said more charges are coming related to the pursuit and crash. Harville has a preliminary hearing scheduled for April 4. Harville allegedly took the pickup from a residence near Fletcher.

RELATED: 5 things to know about deadly police pursuit

Harville had been wanted on a warrant from Montgomery County Common Pleas Court case in which he didn’t report to his probation officer. He received intervention in lieu of a conviction for a low-level felony case for breaking and entering a barn.

Deputies’ reports said that after Harville exited the pickup that had flipped after the crash, he jumped from the bed of the truck and tried to run through a parking lot. Deputies apprehended Harville, who had blood on his hands and nose.

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A Montgomery County deputy wrote that Harville acted like he had trouble breathing and that his eyes kept rolling into the back of his head.

“He would slide completely off the seat and be unresponsive, and then wake up,” the deputy wrote. “He then stated he used heroin. I asked him how long ago did he use heroin, and he stated while he was being chased.”

Medics administered Narcan after Harville kicked a medic, according to the report.

“After the Narcan was given to him, Harville’s demeanor changed,” the deputy wrote. “He became more calm and stated he would not do anything anymore.”

Harville has had several visits to area jails for allegations including assault, obstructing justice, resisting arrest, theft, misuse of a credit card, receiving stolen property, breaking and entering and liquor prohibitions.

Wild week on local roads as police chase second, third cars

Published: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 @ 6:45 PM

            Roderick Boyd, 21, was arrested by Ohio State Highway Patrol following a high-speed chase Tuesday on U.S. 35. JAROD THRUSH/STAFF
            JAROD THRUSH

Police chased two more drivers Tuesday, the second and third such pursuits in two days.

The pursuit of a 21-year-old Dayton man took Ohio Highway Patrol troopers on a high-speed chase on U.S. 35 Tuesday morning. Then, just after noon, Dayton police tracked a driver across the city in a search that began on the west side but finished on the east.

The pursuits come following a chase Monday that resulted in the death of an innocent bystander, authorities said.

MORE: Suspect in fatal police chase begs deputies: ‘Kill me’

Troopers report Roderick Boyd won’t say why he fled them down U.S. 35 east, though they said he lost control of his car when it hit wet pavement accessing an off ramp at Smithville Road. Boyd then pulled a U-turn, drove in the wrong direction up the off ramp, crossed the highway and crashed through the median, police said.

Boyd’s car struck another motorist’s car, causing no injuries but damaging the man’s prized red Chevrolet Camaro, which was towed.

“He’s driving 50 I’m driving 60, he bounced off the guard rail right into me and it’s just a fun day,” the victim, a student, said on scene. “When you put a whole lot of work into a car in the course of a week and then this happens two days after you finish it, it kind of sucks.”

MORE: Pursuit leads to U.S. 35 crash in Dayton

Among other traffic offenses, Boyd is charged with felony fleeing and eluding and possession of drugs.

“We were trying to stop him for a minor traffic violation, and obviously it isn’t worth the danger that he put everybody in to get away from a ticket or whatever,” said OSP Sgt. Chris Colbert.

At least one person was taken into custody following the day’s second pursuit, though the individual’s identity wasn’t immediately available.

Dayton police began a pursuit on the city’s west side through the areas of Euclid Avenue and James H. McGee Boulevard around 12:20 p.m. Police lost the vehicle, but spotted it again on the east side of the city.

MORE: Suspect in custody following 2nd pursuit in Dayton

The vehicle was located, abandoned, behind an address on East Maple Avenue, before entering another vehicle, which police stopped on Willowwood Drive.

On Monday, at least three law enforcement agencies actively took part in the pursuit through Miami and Montgomery counties.

Jordan Harville, 24, of Clayton called himself a “dope fiend” after police say he drove the stolen Ford F-250 into a Honda Accord driven by Anthony Hufford on North Dixie Drive in Harrison Twp. The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office said Hufford, 28, of Englewood, died of blunt force injuries and the manner of death was an accident.

Teen using family friend's computer discovers nude photos of his younger sister

Published: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 @ 6:24 PM


When a teenager in Texas borrowed a family friend's computer, he made a shocking and sickening discovery.

The boy found nude photos of his 10-year-old sister on the computer of Joe Garza Jr., according to the Star-Telegram.

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Garza, 65, was arrested March 3 on child pornography charges, and faces additional charges after it was discovered that he allegedly molested an older sister in the family years ago.

The Star-Telegram reports that the boy, who was trying to fix the hard drive on his own computer, asked to borrow Garza's computer. While using it, he clicked on a folder and discovered the images of his sister. He returned the computer to Garza and told his mother about the images. She asked the boy to request to use the computer again so she could see the images for herself. The mother confronted Garza about the images and police were called to the scene.

Officer Domingo Martinez, who works for the Fort Worth Police Department’s Crimes Against Children Task Force, told the Star-Telegram that Garza admitted to the mother that he had a problem and said he would disappear if she didn't call police.

In interviews with authorities, the 10-year-old victim said Garza bought her items and gave her money, and told her not to tell her parents about the abuse. 

Garza remains behind bars while investigators work to determine if there are additional victims.