A SkyWest Airlines pilot on the run after allegedly killing his former girlfriend last week, attempted to steal one of his company's commercial jetliners early Tuesday, but he killed himself before the plane became airborne.
According to CNN.com, police in Colorado and Utah spent all day Tuesday trying to piece together the bizarre incident, which involved a stolen CRJ200 that struck the terminal and parked vehicles at St. George Municipal Airport in Utah.
The fugitive was identified as Brian J. Hedglin, 40. SkyWest Airlines said he was on administrative leave.
Hedglin apparently used a rug or piece of carpet to scale a barbed wire fence to reach the plane, St. George police said.
Hedglin and Christina Cornejo, 39, who was found dead Friday of stab wounds in Colorado Springs, both served in the Colorado Army National Guard.
Cornejo was found at Hedglin's residence, but authorities don't know whether she went there voluntarily or was abducted, said Colorado Springs Police spokeswoman Barbara A. Miller.
No passengers were on board the CRJ200, and it was not in service at the time of Tuesday's incident in Utah, the airline said.
Hedglin, who joined SkyWest in 2005, was found dead in the plane's aisle from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, Van Fleet told reporters.
A security officer checking the airport's perimeter shortly before 1 a.m. first saw a motorcycle, its engine still warm. The officer went back to the terminal to check on its registration.
The officer saw the aircraft in the parking lot of the airport terminal, its engines still running, said Van Fleet. Several automobiles were damaged. The plane at some point clipped the terminal building and breached a fence.
St. George city spokesman Marc Mortensen said the pilot reversed the aircraft off the jet bridge before pushing it forward.
The left wing clipped the bridge and the plane turned left, scraping the terminal building en route to the parking lot. The aircraft leaked some fuel.
Asked why the pilot may have driven to St. George, Van Fleet replied, "The person who has those answers, unfortunately, is dead."
Van Fleet said, "I don't think we're any more vulnerable than any other airport," but officials said they would review security.
Cornejo was found dead after a call from a family member, Colorado Springs police said. The pair were not dating at the time of Cornejo's death.
So I have to practically get naked and throw out my water when I get on a plane, but this dude was able to steal one. TSA, get your act together.