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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.


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.”

Troopers in OVI checkpoints also trained to spot those on opioids

Published: Friday, July 21, 2017 @ 2:06 PM

An OVI checkpoint was conducted Friday night, July 21, 2017, on U.S. 40 in Vandalia. TODD JACKSON / STAFF
An OVI checkpoint was conducted Friday night, July 21, 2017, on U.S. 40 in Vandalia. TODD JACKSON / STAFF(TODD JACKSON / STAFF)

UPDATE @ 11:15 p.m.

Troopers just wrapped up an OVI checkpoint tonight on U.S. 40 just in Vandalia, just south of the Dayton International Airport.

Between 350 and 450 cars traveled through the sobriety checkpoint between 9 and 11 p.m. The goal is to deter and intercept impaired drivers. While the smell of alcohol or marijuana can be easy to detect, opioids can be tougher to identify. But troopers are trained to spot that, too.

“Typically when we do a checkpoint we try to stop every car that comes through,” said Lt. Mark Nichols of the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Dayton Post. “Then when we approach your vehicle, we’re just going to ask you some quick questions.

“We want to get up there ... make our evaluation very quickly,” Nichols said.


An OVI checkpoint will be held from 9 to 11 p.m. tonight in Vandalia.

The sobriety checkpoint will be on U.S. 40, and will include patrols in the surrounding area to aggressively combat alcohol-related injury and fatal crashes, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

RELATED: OVI checkpoint tonight in Sidney

The checkpoint, funded by federal grants, is planned to deter and intercept impaired drivers. State law requires law enforcement to announce checkpoint times and locations.

The patrol recommends that anyone planning to consume alcohol should designate a sober driver or make other travel arrangements before drinking.

Police seek driver in hit-and-run crash on NB I-75 in West Carrollton

Published: Friday, July 21, 2017 @ 10:33 PM

FROM SCENE: Multiple vehicle crash on I-75 North

UPDATE @ 10:55 p.m.

A hit-and-run driver struck another motorist tonight in the northbound lanes of Interstate 75 in West Carrollton.

What was initially reported around 9:20 p.m. as a multiple-vehicle crash was a two-car crash with other motorists who stopped to help, according to the West Carrollton Police Department.

One person was taken to a local hospital with injuries that appear to be minor, police said.


We’re hearing reports of a multiple-vehicle crash tonight in the northbound lanes of Interstate 75 in West Carrollton.

At least one injury was reported in the crash involving four to five vehicles that happened around 9:20 p.m. in the far left lane south of Exit 47, according to initial reports.

Inmate at Georgia jail, nurse passed letters, had sexual relationship, officials say

Published: Friday, July 21, 2017 @ 10:51 PM

Aleah Risby (left) and Jerrell Hopkins, an inmate at Fulton County Jail,  had a sexual relationship while Risby was working as a nurse at the jail, officials say.
Fulton County Sheriff's Office
Aleah Risby (left) and Jerrell Hopkins, an inmate at Fulton County Jail, had a sexual relationship while Risby was working as a nurse at the jail, officials say.(Fulton County Sheriff's Office)

A former Fulton County jail nurse is accused of having a sexual relationship with an inmate and sending him letters detailing “her enjoyment of sex with him,” according to a Fulton County Sheriff’s Office incident report. 

Aleah Risby, 23, was released from the Fulton County jail on a $7,500 signature bond late Thursday, Fulton County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Tracy Flanagan said. She faces a charge of sexual assault by a law enforcement agency employee or agent who engages in sexual contact with an individual in custody. 

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Risby had been with Correct Care Solutions, the medical provider for the jail, for two months when authorities were told about the alleged relationship with inmate Jerrell Hopkins, officials said. Hopkins, 22, had been in jail on a slew of charges including aggravated assault, obstruction battery, possession of a firearm and false imprisonment, according to records. 

Lt. Deputy Sheriff Anthony Volley wrote in his report that he was given the letters Monday and interviewed Hopkins the next day. Hopkins confessed that he and Risby would have sexual intercourse in the far corner of the new intake area, according to the report

Hopkins also gave Volley a note from Risby indicating she wanted “to find a place where (they) can touch,” according to the report. Some of the letters revealed the two would also hug and kiss. It is not stated when the relationship began or if the two knew each other before Risby began her job at the jail. 

Authorities monitored conversations between Risby and Hopkins and arrested the former nurse, the report states. Risby opted not to make a statement to officials on the allegations. 

Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Aug. 3. 

Car thief suspects caught on camera arrested in same clothes in Springfield

Published: Friday, July 21, 2017 @ 9:23 PM

Car thief suspects caught on camera arrested in same clothes in Springfield

Two men caught on camera stealing a car in Richmond were still wearing the same clothes when they were arrested in Springfield, deputies said.

Richmond, Indiana, police on Tuesday notified the Clark County Sheriff’s Office that a stolen black Pontiac G6 could be in the Springfield area. A short time later, a deputy spotted the car near Springfield High School, according to the sheriff’s office.

>>READ: Clark County deputies stop man on I-70 accused of trafficking meth

The car was stopped at Home Road and Grube Street, and the four people inside were detained.

Images from Richmond police matched two of the occupants, identified as Allyn M. King, 18, and Israel R. Scott, 20, both of Springfield, deputies said.

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King and Scott were arrested and booked into the Clark County Jail on suspicion of felony receiving stolen property. Scott is no longer in the county jail, records show.