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Published: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 11:37 AM
Updated: Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 1:54 PM
DAYTON — The Federal Aviation Administration and Spirit Airlines “quickly became aware” of pilot Brian Halye’s likely drug overdose death, a spokeswoman for the federal agency said Monday.
Spirit Airlines also released new information to the Dayton Daily News and NewsCenter 7 about how it drug tests pilots, though the company has not said if it is internally investigating Halye’s death.
Halye, 36, of Centerville, and wife Courtney Halye, 34, were found dead Thursday by their four children. Their deaths appear to be drug-related, according to Montgomery County Coroner’s Office Director Ken Betz.
Investigators have not given any indication the Spirit Airlines pilot used drugs before the incident that led to his death. Halye’s last flight for the company before his death was March 10, a Spirit Airlines spokesman said.
Airline explains drug tests
The Dayton Daily News last week asked Spirit Airlines to provide more information about Halye’s employment, including the last route he flew and scheduled flights, the dates and results of any drug screens during and before his employment, and whether the carrier was aware of Halye’s apparent drug use.
The company initially declined to respond, though the Dayton Daily News continued to ask for comment over the weekend. On Monday, Spirit Airlines provided the newspaper with additional details about the airline’s drug policy, but the company did not say if it is internally investigating the matter, or the last time Halye was tested.
“Spirit Airlines is required by federal regulations to operate with the highest degree of safety,” said Spirit Airlines spokesman Paul Berry in an emailed statement.
U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration “regulations require that the airline conduct various drug and alcohol tests on all safety-sensitive employees including pilots, flight attendants, mechanics and dispatchers,” Berry said.
“These tests include, but are not limited to, pre-employment, random and reasonable suspicion drug and alcohol testing. Spirit Airlines is fully compliant with these DOT and FAA regulations,” Berry said.
“In addition, Spirit Airlines has implemented and maintains a number of programs, in cooperation with its pilot union, that exceed any federal mandates, designed to detect, report and assist employees with potential life challenges,” he said.
“In the event that someone in a safety sensitive position tests positive, they would be immediately removed from their position,” Berry said.
FAA database had ‘discrepancy’
The FAA and Spirit Airlines stay in “constant contact,” an FAA spokeswoman said, noting both organizations “quickly became aware” of the pilot’s death.
On Monday, the FAA confirmed the agency’s public database of pilots was updated to reflect the most up-to-date medical information about Halye, following the newspaper’s discovery of a discrepancy in agency records.
Last week, the federal agency’s database of pilots suggested Halye’s last medical certification was issued in September 2011, though the spokeswoman said Halye’s medical certification was up-to-date.
The discrepancy was due to a duplication of files in the agency’s master database when Halye elected not to use his Social Security number when filing his certification, something that “happens occasionally,” according to FAA Spokeswoman Elizabeth Cory.
“The elimination of the Social Security number means the airman was assigned a random number, and ended up with two files in the master database,” Cory said. “They were merged in the master file, which enabled me to answer the question about whether he had an active medical so quickly on Thursday.”
The updated database lists Halye’s last medical certification as September 2016. While a urine sample is taken during the tests, the sample is tested for diseases but not drug use.
Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 2:23 PM
GERMAN TWP. — Upper Valley Pike outside of Tremont City Road is blocked after two coal train cars carrying 200,000 pounds of raw steel derailed and landed on their side.
The incident occurred before 2 p.m. Sunday at the 5100 block of Upper Valley Pike at the cross of Tremont City Road and St. Paris, according to German Twp. dispatch.
German Twp. police are on the scene working to open the road, according to dispatch reports.
According to German Twp. Police Chief Michael Stitzel, the thawing with the warmer temperatures caused the tracks to shift. The last two cars on the train then tipped when they shifted on the tracks.
The railroad company doesn’t know when the mess will be cleaned up.
Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 10:26 AM
— U.S. lawmakers are in session today but no deal is in sight to prevent an extended government shutdown.
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force closed Saturday and other local governmental institutions, including Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, will be closed Monday as Republicans and Democrats have failed to reach a deal to fund governmental operations.
Both sides are dug in at the moment, with Republicans pushing for a larger defense budget and the Democrats wanting more non-defense spending as well as an agreement on the immigration bill — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Cox Media Group D.C. Correspondent Jamie Dupree reports.
U.S. Senate members return at 1 p.m. today and the U.S. House of Representatives meet at 2 p.m. but no action is expected this afternoon. The U.S. Senate has a procedural vote set for early Monday morning on the GOP’s plan to fund the government through Feb. 8.
People who work at Wright-Patterson are being asked to report to work on Monday, but it's unclear how many may be sent home.
WPAFB Public Affairs Director Marie Vanover said base officials won't know until Monday the extent the shutdown will have on base employees and services.
"We will undergo an orderly shutdown. Those who are not exempt from the furlough will be sent home," Vanover said.
Vanover said Sunday the base had not yet been advised of "the parameters" that will determine who stays and who goes home.
When the last shutdown struck in 2013, both furloughed workers and those who stayed on the job were reimbursed.
The Child Development Center was scheduled to be open Monday, spokeswoman Marie Vanover said Saturday.
Col. Alden Hilton, commander of the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine which marked its 100th anniversary Friday, said essential classes to train aeromedical flight personnel would continue without interruption.
Hundreds of Air Force reservists scheduled for a monthly drill weekend Jan. 20-21 with the 445th Airlift Wing were expected to proceed because it was previously funded, said Lt. Col. Cynthia Harris, a unit spokeswoman.
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is the largest single-site employer in Ohio with an estimated 27,000 military and civilian personnel.
Wright-Patterson officials will report updates on the plan on its website wpafb.af.mil. The public may also get information by calling Wright-Patterson's public affairs line, (937) 522-3252.
5 WAYS SHUTDOWN IS AFFECTING GOVERNMENT
1. U.S. troops will continue to report for duty and U.S. Mail will be delivered, but around one million civilian federal workers will not be at work if the shutdown extends into Monday, according to the Associated Press.
2. Nearly 45,500 IRS employees will be furloughed, which could delay the implementation of lower income tax withholdings set to go into effect nationwide next month, according to the AP.
3. Medicare and Medicaid will continue to operate, the former continuing to provide insurance coverage for nearly 59 million seniors and disabled citizens and the ladder continuing to provide coverage for low-income and disabled people, according to the AP.
4. Most of the federal employees under the U.S. Department of Justice will continue working during the shutdown, including members of the national security division, the FBI, DEA, ATF and the U.S. Marshals Service, according to the AP.
5. Some U.S. Lawmakers have announced they will donate their pay during the shutdown. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced Saturday he will donate to an Ohio diaper bank that supports struggling families and Sen. Todd Young (R-IND) announced he will donate his pay to charity.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 2:27 PM
— The flag-bearer from Tonga who walked shirtless in the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympics will need to pack some warm shirts for the South Korean games.
Saying that “a miracle happened,” Pita Taufatofua qualified for the Pyeongchang Olympics in cross-country skiing Saturday, The Wall Street Journal reported. Taufatofua had failed in two previous attempts to qualify for the Winter Olympics, but on Saturday, he met the standards in five races to qualify, ESPN reported.
“I gave it absolutely everything,” he told the Journal. “I died at the end.”
Taufatofua qualified in taekwondo at the Rio de Janeiro Games, ESPN reported. He was eliminated in his first bout.
Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 2:18 PM
FAIRFIELD TWP. — Fairfield Twp. police are continuing their investigation of a drug deal that resulted in a teenager getting shot in the leg Saturday afternoon in a Walmart parking lot.
Capt. Doug Lanier told this news outlet that detectives are working to piece together surveillance video of the parking lot at the Walmart, 3201 Princeton Road. Lanier said detectives have also been in contact with the 17-year-old male and his family in gathering information.
Lanier said the teenager was shot after meeting the suspect for the drug deal in the parking lot. Police said the male then accelerated his vehicle and struck other vehicles and a shopping cart corral. The victim was taken to West Chester Hospital with non life threatening injuries, Lanier said.
The suspect was described as a male aged 16 to 19, between 5 feet 6 and 5 feet 7 in height and weighed about 135 pounds and has black curly hair and a black goatee. He was last seen wearing a dark jacket and dark sweatpants as he fled the scene on foot.
Police believe he was picked up by the same vehicle that dropped him off: a red 2007 Toyota Camry with a sunroof reported stolen Friday from Cincinnati with Ohio license plate number 423XVA.