EXCLUSIVE: A friend’s recount of one fateful night that ended in a plane crash

ST. GEORGE – When Justin Ross telephoned his friends, Tanner Holt, Jordan Chapman, Alex Metzger and Colby Hafen, at 1:10 a.m. on May 26 to tell them he had decided not to join up with them to go to Mesquite, he had no idea it would be the last time he ever spoke with them – or that his decision to not go may have saved his own life. “I was the last one to talk to them,” Ross said.

Ross had spent most of the evening on May 25, with Holt, Chapman, Metzger and Hafen.

“We were at a house just having some fun,” Ross said. “You know, everyone was just kind of hanging out, then one of my buddies was having a party at his house and we were on our way over there –and we ended up getting pulled over.”

A Washington City police officer had run Chapman’s plates and pulled the car over for lack of insurance. Ross said they were pulled over at the Hart’s gas station in Washington in the area of Albertson’s and Home Depot. Ross said that Chapman apologized to the officer for not having insurance, that he had just bought his car on Monday.

“And in the meantime, while the cop was running his license and everything, we came up with the idea, ‘guys, let’s just go to Mesquite and just skip out on going to that party,’ and so all of just agreed to go to Mesquite.”

While they were waiting for the officer to finish what he was doing, Ross decided not to go with the guys to Mesquite.

A friend of his, Allie Davis, who he had planned to get together with, happened to be on her way to Wal-mart at the time. So she came and picked up Ross, and the other four guys headed to Mesquite.

“So me and Allie were driving around,” Ross said, and “Tanner called and said ‘dude, don’t you want to go to Mesquite with us? You should come.’

“So I asked Allie – she agreed.

“So I was like, let me call you back I’ll let you know.

“We were turning off bluff street onto the freeway,” Ross said. “Something ran through me that said ‘Justin, don’t go,’ and those guys were on the freeway, so I ended up calling those guys back and telling them we’re not going to go – and I think that’s why they ended up taking that plane, because there were just four of them – if I would’ve ended up going with them they probably would’ve ended up just driving there.”

Ross said with certainty that he called the guys at 1:10 a.m. he repeated that it was 1:10 a.m. when he called them to tell them he was not going with them to Mesquite.

He said that was the last time he talked to them.

Ross has been a good friend with all four guys killed in the plane crash from one to two years each.

“We were really good volleyball friends, we’d go to the lake, lay out by the pool, we were just always doing something fun.”

He said they have partied together, but he does not remember any time that they were not responsible doing so.

Before the guys left the first party, which had 17-20 people including Ross and the four, Ross said that they were “pre-gaming” for the other party. “I know Tanner had a couple shots of alcohol. Jordan was the only one who was not drinking, because I actually offered him a thing of alcohol and he said ‘no, I’m driving, I’m designated driver (moving his hands in sign language to show the “driving” gesture Jordan had given him).” He said he knows Holt had two shots of something like Southern Comfort because they had them together, but could not say if Holt had any more than those. He said Metzger and Hafen were drinking also. He said there was no alcohol in the car with them when they left the party.

Ross said he has seen speculation that the four headed to a game in San Diego.

“I know they were not going to San Diego because we were all going to San Diego in the morning and we had rented a van. Alex had rented a van to go to San Diego on Saturday – we was going to leave right after my buddy Kazj Briggs got off work at 3 p.m. Kazj is one of our friends, we was actually at his house, that’s where we were at when we was drinking.”

Ross said he thinks that maybe they decided to fly to Mesquite because they had just been pulled over for no insurance, and they were partying and having a good time and decided, ‘let’s just fly there.’ He said that Tanner did fly that same plane out to Phoenix with a couple friends to visit him last weekend.

Ross said that he doesn’t know one person that doesn’t like these kids:

“They were all friends and they always put a smile on people’s faces, they always brightened up a room when they walk through the door. I am extremely sad for the loss of these four, and my prayers are going out to the families of each of them.

“These were the happiest kids alive, they were social, they knew everybody, they were just the happiest people alive.”

Related stories:

Investigation into May 26 plane crash, public input requested

Names of plane crash victims released

Fatal plane crash discovered by airport security at dawn

email: jkuzmanic@stgnews.com

twitter: @JoyceKuzmanic

Copyright 2012 St. George News. 

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55 Comments

  • -Mike- May 28, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what it sounds like when someone throws their friends under the bus… talking to the “media” when he should keep his mouth shut.

    Glad he’s not one of my friends.

  • Too much info May 28, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Some friend. Nothing like throwing everybody under the bus re-counting the events leading up to the crash. Some things would be just fine if left unsaid. Family can learn of certain things later but isn’t this event tragic enough?

  • what a great friend May 28, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Why on earth would you let someone write this? What are you trying to do to your “best friends”??? You are pathetic.

  • Karmen May 28, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    I am so very very sad for the families of these young men. Everyone makes mistakes but I think it could have been left out of the public’s view about them using alcohol..All that is going to do is make the family and friends feel much worse.and possibly feel ashamed. I am praying for you and your familys and friends to get some peace during these very hard times.. We will never forget what wonderful young men they were.

  • So. Utah May 28, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. I can’t even tell you how many times my friends have been at a party and then decided to “head to Mesquite” after because it’s so close. Such a tragic loss but I hope that someone reading this will think twice before going to a party and then heading off to Mesquite. This information would have come out in the investigation. I think the friend in this story was helping by reminding others.

  • Dan May 28, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Go easy on the guy. This is an FAA investigation. If there was any alcohol involved, it will come out anyway in a very public way. If not, then we will know that as well.

  • Cody May 28, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    This reporter honestly should be ashamed.. Reporting this article days before the boys funeral is a low blow to not only them but their families. The only thing that should be on peoples minds right now is the fact that they were great men loved by many. I know the boys personally and whether they drank or not is irrelevant, They were good people either way. Justin is a good person and by no means is throwing anyone “under the bus” he was more of a friend to them than anyone could ever know. If you don’t know the facts then just mind your business! RIP forever!

  • cb May 29, 2012 at 7:14 am

    And why should he be ashamed of telling the truth?

    I guess most people would prefer this to be something that can’t be blamed on drinking and flying, like maybe the wings folded, or elevator control cable snapped, etc. But the truth is going to be it was human caused.

    • theTRUTH May 29, 2012 at 2:13 pm

      And you know this the TRUTH because??????? You must have been there…..Right?

      cb – you don’t know the truth, but your ignorance is shining brightly.

  • Lessons to be learned May 29, 2012 at 7:24 am

    Telling the truth is not “throwing everyone under the bus”. It is better to state the facts of the events leading up to this tragedy than let rumors swirl around the community. Hopefully, if there are lessons to be learned, then articles like this can only enlighten other young people. And one other note, they were not “kids” or “boys”, they were grown men.

  • Pilot May 29, 2012 at 7:57 am

    A – This is a horribly written article.
    B – It’s a sad attempt at trying to gain an advantageous angle on an already covered story.
    C – As said above, the truth will come out in an NTSB investigation, so why speculate and tarnish the reputation of the deceased? Oh yes…a writer’s desparate attempt to gain recognition.

  • B May 29, 2012 at 8:29 am

    I don’t think this story makes breaking news. I find it completely distasteful that you would feel the need to post this article so soon following their deaths. Let the families mourn in peace without you tarnishing the characters of those that were lost. I highly doubt that Justin Ross during this hard time needed you to portray him in such a negative light of “throwing his friends under the bus”. Report real news…

  • San May 29, 2012 at 8:35 am

    It’s strange to hear how closing one door opened another, how one choice affected so many others that night. If he’d just bought that car then he was covered either way; you have a window of time to report it.

    The friend who survived did nothing wrong here. When you go through a huge loss like this, especially one you were nearly a part of, it takes a toll on you. He had his own near miss here and he’s trying to process it. I hope that someday he realizes that he was smart enough to listen to his own conscience and stay home that night, with good reason. He shouldn’t have ‘survivor’s guilt’ but I’ll bet he does…google; crisis counseling.

  • comanchepilot May 29, 2012 at 8:48 am

    So they were all drinking except for Jordan, who was not a licensed pilot. . . .

    that makes sense – have a couple shots of southern comfort then go fly, probably over weight, in dark deep valley at night . . . the result is unfortunately predictable . ..

    • theTRUTH May 29, 2012 at 2:26 pm

      Fact is you don’t know what the TRUTH is. You are taking GOSSIP and coming to a conclusion.? “Probably overweight”, you say your a “comanche pilot” and you make up crap like this? None of those men we over 180lbs. Since your a big bad pilot how much will a 172 with upgraded engine carry??? With your 2 hours of flight time I guess you know all.

      • comanchepilot May 29, 2012 at 3:31 pm

        uh . . . can we do the math? An ‘upgraded engine’ does not increase the gross weight in any of the STC’s.

        Empty Weight of the average Skyhawk: 1675

        4 x 170lbs [all under 180] :680

        Luggage? They were going to spend the night someplace . . . Give 20lbs – they were guys

        Total weight [without fuel] 2375 lbs.

        Max Gross: 2450lbs

        Weight available for fuel: 75lbs.

        Where were they going again? Total fuel available? 12.5 gallons.

        Anything more than 12.5 gallons and they were overweight.

        Using a fuel burn of 9gph and required reserve of 6 gallons – they could fly exactly 30 minutes with 12.5 gallons in the tanks and have the required nighttime reserve . . . .

        Where were they going again?

        Do you know what Density Altitude is? Do you know what an obstacle clearance departure is? SGU is in a valley – as I’m sure you know.

        I suppose its possible that the toxicology will show no alcohol in Tanner’s system – but the article reports on 2 shots of southern comfort within 4 hours of departing, violating the FAA restriction of 8 hours bottle to throttle.

        I think I a few more than 2 hours – and certain know more than you do . . .

        • theTRUTH May 29, 2012 at 4:16 pm

          Wow you sure sound smart…..I bet you thank Google every day. THE FACT IS YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED. You want everyone to be impressed that you say your a pilot. The FACT is you are making statements you can’t back up. If you can, get your paperwork together let me know where you live and I’ll be right over to discuss it with you.

          • comanchepilot May 29, 2012 at 4:54 pm

            and your grammar stinks –

            ‘your’ would be used in a sentence that states:

            “Your facts are incorrect.’

            If I were a big bad pilot you should have said ‘you are’ a big bad pilot, which what you meant, so the correct usage of that contraction is ‘you’re.’

            Incorrect use of the English language makes people look like uneducated fools who talk to reporters and create lawsuits for their friends and their friends heirs. . . .

            I have no idea what happened – except what the press reports,

            A guy drinks two shots of southern comfort whiskey 4 hours before he drives out to an airport in the pitch dark at 1am – gets in an airplane – which crashes into a crumpled heap at the end of the runway.

            You are 100% accurate I have no idea what happened but I have a 95% guess. And if for some reason there was an engine failure right at rotation or shortly after take off – did the alcohol in his system at all impair his decision making? Or was he in such ‘drinking shape’ that 2 shots would not have mattered?

        • Re: Comanche Pilot May 29, 2012 at 7:27 pm

          You are already incorrect in your assumption that they were packing luggage to spend the night somewhere. They were going to Mesquite and planned to return. The FAA found no luggage. But yes, continue to make judgements based off of something you know nothing about. Even if Tanner did drink, you don’t know when that was. You continue to make assumptions off of a situation that you were no part of.

          • comanchepilot May 30, 2012 at 12:26 pm

            EVERY flies with ‘luggage,’ even if it was 4 cell phones, a couple of chargers, keys, a jacket or a GPS or sectionals and charts in the airplane.

            NONE of those things are included in the aircraft empty weight or in the weight of the humans onboard.

            So I’m NOT making this stuff up – how about YOU TELL ME something . . . .

            What did each guy weigh, roughly, in clothes, and what did the airplane weight empty . . . THEN we can have an intelligent discussion since you after all- I know nothing and by implication you know something – you can at least tell me what their approximate weights were . . .

  • Phil May 29, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Honesty is a good policy. Covering up is not. If you think this was going to be “kept under wraps”, you aren’t as bright as you think. When public and private investigators, plaintiff attorneys and their teams get involved, nothing will be missed. Trying to wrongly covering this up, when every aspect of this sad event will easily be pubic, serves no one.

  • Missy May 29, 2012 at 9:17 am

    What happened is tragic. However, if this is caused by being impaired by alcohol then more education should be had. A community that does not drink needs to know how to handle the amounts of drinks and what the affects are. For someone over twenty one who does not drink a lot it could be deadly. I don’t believe the young adults in this community are responsible enough to realize the true dangers of the real world. Even the “designated driver” should have known that flying while drinking was not a good plan. I hope that all the families find peace. I am deeply sadden by this, such beautiful lives lost.

  • Under the Bus May 29, 2012 at 9:28 am

    I don’t know Justin but there is a HUGE difference between talking to authorities (FAA, NTSB) about what happened and talking to a local reporter knowing full well that whatever you said will be published for everyone to read ASAP.

  • Mark May 29, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    “8 hours bottle to throttle.”
    And the Darwin award goes to…Tanner Holt, the commercial pilot who should’ve known better. He attempted to show off, but did not have the brains nor the skill to actually pull it off.
    Similar factors were at play in a C-17 crash a couple years ago: “channelized attention, overconfidence..”
    http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/video-c-17-pilot-ignored-stall-warnings-before-crash-usaf-350845/

    • theTRUTH May 29, 2012 at 2:34 pm

      Mark,
      You don’t know what happened, and it is easy for a COWARD like you to hide anonymously and make comments like this. Are you a pilot???? No??? thats right. your just a COWARD, hiding. Come out of the closet and you and me will have a discusion about this entire matter. We all know that wont happen…COWARDS never come out!

      • Mark May 29, 2012 at 2:57 pm

        I am a certified private pilot and familiar with the C-172 as I’ve flown it many times. Nobody will ever know for sure what happened, including all the professional investigators conducting the investigation, but we are free to speculate on these things. I know that it’s fun to cruise along the runway, enjoying ‘ground-effect’ for its decrease in drag allowing for an increase in airspeed, then pull the yoke back soaring into the sky. But you have to be very mindful of your airspeed as you climb as it can quickly go into stall territory, and when you’re only a few hundred feet above the ground, that’s a critical situation. I think the pilot’s judgment was impaired and he pulled a stupid stunt that ended in tragedy for him and three other men. What would you like to discuss?

        • theTRUTH May 29, 2012 at 3:44 pm

          I would like to discuss the fact that you know NOTHING that happended that night, and your are speculating to make your self sound smarter than you really are, and you do it all anonymously. Since you are giving the conclusion as to what happened lets have your credentials. Do you work for the NTSB? FAA? Fly Jets? No….well I guess having your private pilots licence and 50 hours of flight time makes you an expert.

          Carma is a fickle thing

          • comanchepilot May 29, 2012 at 4:59 pm

            cowardly? what is correct use of that word? Cowardly? You cannot claim that we are being cowardly because we use a name other than our given names – since you have done that as well with the moniker ‘theTRUTH.’

            So what do you mean by cowardly? What does that mean in this context?

            Next – I have 1626 hours of military jet time and 1000 hours of GA time – what does flying jets have to do with understanding the most likely scenario here?

            Someone who ‘has their pilots license’ probably has a lot more training and demonstrated competency that you do.

            and it’s spelled ‘Karma.’

          • Mark May 30, 2012 at 7:48 am

            This is another Mark and I DO have a commercial license and I DO fly Jets. Based on what we know at this point I suspect a 172 with 4 adults and any fuel load at all was close too (if not over) the weight limit. Also, based on the video as the other Mark mentioned the ‘Air Show’ takeoff (steep climb) most likely resulted in a stall and a 172 even with one person on board that close to the ground is a bad and often deadly situation. I have been a pilot for over 30 years and what I DO know is that it’s almost never just ONE mistake it’s a combination of things that lead to an accident like this. I am speculating on all of this but in my opinion the weight, the steep climb on departure, if (and I don’t’ that that he was) the pilot were impaired in any way, possible gusting winds; these and more all combined resulting in this tragedy.

      • Mike Jones May 29, 2012 at 4:51 pm

        So there is my name, what is yours? You are certainly affected by what has happened and I am sorry for your loss. The loss of a loved one can cause emotions to be very close to the surface, I know I have suffered loss a few times myself. Yet this does not give you the right to attack others for there opinions educated or otherwise. To the other posters that have hurt your feelings, there are four families and many friends who will grieve there loss, comments about Darwin awards are probably best held back and only shared with your close friends if you must share at all.

        I find it overly critical for you, theTRUTH, to jump all over others and say that they are COWARDS to hide behind the anonymity of the name in these posts, yet yours is theTRUTH, I doubt that is your given name so what are you afraid of? Why not use your real name?

    • JS May 29, 2012 at 5:48 pm

      For everyone that has never made a mistake in their life my hat goes off to you. To everyone else who has made the unfortunate mistake of forgetting that these young men have families and dear friends, may God have mercy on your soul. Please be aware there are many in pain and anguish at this time and it would be appreciated if you could do something more productive with your time than sitting at your computer Monday Quarterbacking on others misfortunes. If you don’t get the idea after this I would love to come to whatever rock you call home and discuss this with you in person.

    • Cody May 29, 2012 at 7:34 pm

      Wow dude have some respect.. who do you think you are? 4 men are dead and at the end of the day thats all that matters. We can go back and forth on woulda coulda shoulda and the mistakes that were made but fact is everyone makes mistakes, some big some small. Like I said have some respect and dont say things about tanner you have no knowledge of. He had more brains and skill than you could ever hope for. RIP tanner

  • JP May 29, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    So this guy knew 3 of the 4 men had been drinking, and knew of their plans to fly while under the influence of alcohol and did nothing to stop them? Some people seriously lack in judgement… I knew 3 of the guys personally and they were all well liked and really nice guys…. None of them deserved for this to happen. What frustrates me, which nobody is bringing up is, Why the hell it was so easy for these guys to get into an airplane at 1-2 am in the morning in that condition? No security at a freakin airport? Obviously it is a rare situation where a 23yr old has access to a private airplane. But what if this plane would have gone down in town and taken out a house or a family? I am pretty sure the airport could afford to keep a couple security guards on duty around the clock to prevent these kinds of things from happening. For all we know, these boys could have been bleeding out for 5-6 hours without help, the crash happened 300ft from the runway and was not found until 6 30am. The whole thing just makes me sick.

    • Mark May 29, 2012 at 2:37 pm

      “For all we know, these boys could have been bleeding out for 5-6 hours without help…”

      That’s what I thought until I saw the picture. The cabin is completely collapsed. First responders reported they were ‘obviously’ killed instantly, meaning they saw broken skulls, brains, etc.

      • theTRUTH May 29, 2012 at 3:54 pm

        Mark,
        Lets get together, you soundlike you know everything there is to know about airplanes. I wonder if you would be that smart in person. I know you won’t meet me, it is so scary for you to come out of your mothers basement.

        Carma

    • comanchepilot May 29, 2012 at 3:37 pm

      What security do you suggest? That we protect people from themselves all the time? Do we assign everyone a nanny? How insane is it that you suggest that the airport has to hire security guards to prevent someone from having access to their own property and then doing something so completely stupid as to actually be illegal – and its on society in the form of a ‘security guard’ to stop them?

      I understand senseless tragedy and the resultant grief, but how is a $8 /hr security guard going to be in a position to prevent this from happening?

      Why should a competent and qualified pilot know enough to no go out flying after drinking? I mean, the Darwin Award goes to . . . . .

      • theTRUTH May 29, 2012 at 4:05 pm

        More COWARDLY remarks from a complete idiot. This is the reason gossip articles have no place in news, it brings out all the crazy’s that live in their mothers basement.

        comanchepilot and mark are both COWARDS!!!

        • Lessons to be learned May 29, 2012 at 4:31 pm

          The article in stgnews was not gossip. It was a first person account of the events earlier in the evening. Read the editorial about how the information was received from the source. Stgnews did a good job in reporting.

      • JP May 29, 2012 at 5:20 pm

        comanchepilot,

        Wow, that was a stupid argument. Not everyone owns or has access to an airplane genius. I dont know anyone that has a C-172 parked outside their house. People have to go to something called an airport to use aircraft. So it really is not that insane of a suggestion to have a security guard keeping watch and checking in anyone who wants to fly over public land (towns, cities, communities) after midnight. What if the airplane had gone down flying over the city and these 4 boys actions took more lives? Thank God that didn’t happen. I am not blaming the lack of security for their bad judgement. I am just wondering why there was not one person on staff at an airport that apparently operates 24/7. It should not be that easy for a bunch of drunk kids to take out an airplane.

        • comanchepilot May 30, 2012 at 12:37 pm

          The RULES are pretty clear:

          No consumption of alcohol within 8 hours of flying;
          No flying under the influence [we don’t know that yet but can suspect it from this story]
          Don’t fly your aircraft over weight and
          Don’t show off –

          Now, lets say we as taxpayers in St. George decide to pay for a security guard to either ‘stop’ these guys or ‘regulate’ anyone ‘flying after midnight.’

          Lets deal with the last inanity first: do you want this security guard to prevent the Fedex and UPS aircraft from flying into St. George? Why?

          Now, on to the meat of the issue:
          Under your idea our ‘security’ guard is going to ‘check-in’ these guys who want to go flying to Mesquite at 1am.

          How is he going to know that the pilot [and which one of the guys was the pilot again?] has had anything to drink in the last 8 hours?

          How is he going to know that the proposed pilot is impaired?

          How is he going to know that that particular airplane is going to be overweight for the 3800 density altitude??

          How is going to know that the particular pilot is going to play fighter jock and do a 2g pull up at the end of the runway?

          Where do we find these mind-reading all-knowing security guards?

          The ONLY to have prevented this tragedy is for our erstwhile aviator to have done and W&B computation, saw the temperature, the altitude and made the intelligent decision after have 2 shots 4 hours earlier to have stayed on the ground. The rules I refer to here have been purchased in the blood of other pilots – there was no need for these 4 guys to re-prove these rules yet again.

  • why? May 29, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Tanner was my friend and coworker. He was a great pilot. I’m not sure what happened that, but he was a.smart young man.

    • Mike May 30, 2012 at 9:38 am

      Sorry, but he was not a ‘great pilot.’ I think it’s obvious he displayed questionable judgment. Not the hallmark of a solid aviator. I’m just glad he was cut short before he could cause tragedy on a much greater scale at the controls of a large, commercial aircraft.

      • Just because May 30, 2012 at 5:52 pm

        You need to cool down and let it go. Everyone makes mistakes at some time. Mistake or not these ‘Men’ died. Let them rest in Peace. I hope we can all be as perfect as you some day and never make mistakes…….or that no one judges you so harshly

  • why? May 29, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Where is this editorial?

  • Nicolette May 29, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    How can we as humans fight over a death? We need to respect each other in times such as these. Everyone can judge, but is it worth it? If a mistake was made then it was made. All of these men are somone’s son, someone’s grandson, someone’s brother and someone’s best friend. It is a loss no matter how it’s looked at.

  • -Mike- May 29, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Who would have known that a journalist’s shameless attempt at creating news would be so controversial. The truth is that nobody knows exactly what happened or what they were thinking. Arguing over who knows the most about flying or Cessnas or anything else is pointless. The toxicology reports will come back, the NTSB will make their judgement, and that will be the end of it.

    It’s just sad that the Editor-in-chief of this website chose to seek out the dirt and publish it before we even had a chance to bury the guys. Not to mention the original story that was so distasteful that it was “edited to remove unnecessary details” of the crash. Still, she’ll pat herself on the back for refusing to take photos of the plane and for posting another story from another one of their friends. Had she the courtesy to wait a week or two and publish this as part of a follow-up or something, it would be different.

    This Justin kid may have been their friend, but he certainly didn’t care enough about his friends and their families to say, “You know what, I’ll talk to you once this has all settled down.” If he was the one who approached stgnews about the story, then it’s even worse on him.

    And we all know that Ms Kuzmanic is sitting back and enjoying watching her story get crazy attention at the expense of the victims and their families. Oh well, I guess… someone has to report the “news” around here, and God forbid The Spectrum get the scoop!

    • Cody May 29, 2012 at 7:48 pm

      I agree with this up until the point where you bring up justin, he just happened to be the guy they went after to get the story. It could have been anyone at the party and im sure most of them when confronted about it would have reacted in a similar way. The fault doesnt come with him but with the police officers, police investigator and the journalist who was there hassling him about it knowing he was there. They could have just waited till after the funerals. RIP

  • Jess May 29, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    And the comments to this article once again prove why speculative gossip should never be portrayed as ‘news’. It only creates unnecessary drama at the expense of people who are already in a great deal of pain.

  • Disgusted May 29, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    What a disappointing piece of so-called reporting. Joyce writes, “his (Justin) decision to not go may have saved his own life” but then later in the article Justin says “if I would’ve ended up going with them they probably would’ve ended up just driving there.” Duh. The airplane only holds 4 people, flying wouldn’t even have been an option. So the designated driver would have driven to Mesquite. At no point was Justin’s life in danger. I don’t understand why anyone that’s a true friend would feel the need to talk to a “reporter” rather than grieve with other friends and family.

    It’d be really nice if people would have enough respect, stop speculating and gossipping and wait for the FAA and NTSB to do their job and get the facts. I worked with Tanner, he was a great guy who could make anyone smile. That’s how he should be remembered. Not as gossip fodder.

  • Why so mean? May 29, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Is there a reason we are all so mean? In light of tragedy and sadness all that can be done is criticism and judgement?

    Get off your computers and spend time with loved ones. Maybe give a compliment or two instead of complaining?

    Why so much blame when everyone is simply doing the very best they can? Including the writer/editor. I don’t know Joyce personally but I doubt what ever she writes anyone here would have something nice to say about it.

    I will apologize for those that make different mistakes than you do. Live and let live.

  • freesurf May 29, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    What has happened is very tragic and those boys will always be remembered and they will always be loved, no matter what anyone says. We may not know what exactly happened, but it happened. We should respect the deceased and their families.. RIP

  • Anonymous May 30, 2012 at 9:25 am

    I completely agree with you cody. This lady had no business even talking to Justin knowing he was not in his right state of mind. I talked to Justin, im really good friends with Justin he said he cant believe the comments he has been reading on here, the text messages coming from random people and the messages over fbook about him being a sellout, a worthless piece of shit, hope you go to hell. Its sad, Justin told me he didnt even want his name posted on here, because he didnt want the story to even be about him. I had read her other article from yesterday and i was in disbelief, how she was calling Justin a liar about everything. This lady makes me sick. You have no idea how much this has changed him. He has to deal with his 4 really good friends passing away, the media, the threats and harsh words. Not to mention what Justin has been through in the past walking in and finding his old roommate dead a couple years back. Justin said he had called this lady to take this article out and she said she cant do that once its published. You have no idea what you have done to Justin, you have ruined his life making him out to be a bad person and hes not. I love the kid to death and I told him I will stand by him to the end. So for anybody that doesnt know the story or Justin, shut your mouths.

    • J May 30, 2012 at 11:15 am

      She removed two other related articles yesterday so its a bit odd that she won’t remove this one either.

  • Jenn May 30, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    I think people are misreading this article. A lot of people are stating that he is “throwing his friends under the bus” but I believe he meant it as they were such good friends and having fun, hanging out, just left them and with a snap of the finger they are no longer here. I personally know Justin and I know he has been crying and is devasted that he lost his really good friends. Not once did he ever say that alcohol is the reason they crashed and not once did he say that they were drunk. He did not throw his friends under the bus and he only wanted everyone to see what great friends they were, how much fun they were to hang out with, and how much he will miss them

  • DM May 30, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    This is my first time on this news website….I am questioning whether it may be my last..!! I have had a pilots license for over 20 years and I know quite a bit about this specific event. And yet, I find it difficult within myself to make judgements and conclusions on what may or may not have caused the accident. The FAA and NTSB are specialists on such matters and yet it could be months before they render a conclusion. And there are times that even they do not know what was the exact cause or causes. Would it not be logical to let them do their work and pull back from the driving desire to come up with the answer yourself? Why is it that we have to have the answer right now? And if we dont get the answer right now, why are so many tempted to form the answers themselves, even at the expense of others’ reputations? I find this unfortunate! Too much is said by people who know too little…!!!
    I ask you to consider the following concept. “Most serioius aircraft accidents are caused by a “chain” of two or more problems, decisions and/or circumstances.” Have you ever thought of that? If for example, an engine failed on take-off, the pilot would have delivered decisions before that which may have contributed to the problem and/or decisions thereafter which enter into the final result . And even those very choices can be effected by outside events (or weather) that the pilot has no control over. I am not attempting to take the responsibiltiy away from the pilot. I am simply saying that there is usually a chain of events that causes accidents. For those who want to find fault quickly…how dare you? What qualifies you to do such a thing?

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