Fugitive tries to steal plane at St. George Municipal Airport, commits suicide.

Photo courtesy of SGU/St. George Municipal Airport

ST. GEORGE – An incident involving a fugitive attempting to steal a SkyWest aircraft Monday night led to the shutdown of St. George Municipal Airport Tuesday.

Marc Mortensen, assistant to the city manager of St. George, said a man identified as 40-year-old Brian Hedglin, a SkyWest employee out of Colorado, was involved in the incident that shutdown the airport.

Brian Hedglin, wanted for the murder of a 39-year-old woman in Colorado Springs,, Colo., last week.

At 12:50 a.m., a St. George City Police officer patrolling the airport perimeter discovered a recently discarded motorcycle on the east side of the airport.

Prior to the discovery of the motorcycle, Mortensen said Hedglin has used a rug to get over the razor wire that lined the airport’s security fence. From there, Hedglin somehow gained access to a SkyWest CRJ200 jet aircraft.

In an effort to locate the owner of the motorcycle, the officer returned to the terminal area where he observed a SkyWest Jet in the terminal parking lot with several damaged vehicles around the plane.  The jet engines were running when the officer arrived.

Hedglin’s Attempt to taxi the plane resulted in the wings of the aircraft scraping against a jet bridge and the south side of the terminal. From there the jet went over a road and landscaping until it ended up in the parking lot.

After gaining access to the inside of the plane, Hedglin was found to be deceased via a self-inflicted gun-shot wound.

SkyWest has confirmed that Hedglin was a SkyWest employee who was on administrative leave. Hedglin was also wanted for a homicide committed on Friday, July 13, in Colorado Springs, Colo.  The St. George Police Department is working with Colorado Springs Police Department to complete this investigation.

There were no passengers onboard the plane as it was not in service at the time and SkyWest is cooperating in the FBI’s continuing investigation into the incident.

Passengers scheduled to fly in and out of St. George are being re-accommodated on other flights, as well as with ground transportation from nearby Cedar City until the airport is able to reopen.

Any passengers who have questions about rebooking should contact Delta Air Lines Reservations at 800-221-1212 or United Airlines Reservations at 800-241-6522.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright 2012 St. George News.


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19 Comments

  • cj July 17, 2012 at 8:23 am

    what about the LAX-SGU united flight this afternoon? do they plan on the airport being open by then or will those passengers end up landing elsewhere?

  • Damie July 17, 2012 at 8:53 am

    Other articles state that Cedar City airport will be used along with ground transportation.

  • cj July 17, 2012 at 9:53 am

    yes, I saw that..for the delta-connection flights..but technically the LAX flight is united connection..so wondered if that would be different because it’s not delta.

  • Teri Time July 17, 2012 at 11:39 am

    You’d think they’d go ahead and hire a night security out there- I know, I Know, people have sacrament on Sundays- because apparently after 1 AM you can drive out there and have a free for all. First those four dudes die by joyride, and now a lunatic hijacks a plane and runs it into some cars and the terminal and then offs himself. When will they wake up?

  • Murat July 17, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Yet another reason all the billions we’ve poured into the TSA have been a complete waste. The razor-wire fence didn’t stop him. Apparently we don’t have much of a surveillance system, just an inept SGPD rent-a-cop who obviously has a tenuous grasp of the term ‘security.’ This is pretty damning of Skywest as well. What if this guy Hedglin weren’t so inept? No doubt he wanted to take off. What would he have done? Hard to say. We sure do have a lot of incompetent dolts in charge of important things, though.

    • bud July 17, 2012 at 7:03 pm

      @murat, I agree w/your assessment of the TSA but your criticism of the police officer is rather harsh. That is a large area for one person to cover. As this incident proves, the security needs to be vastly improved. One cop can only do so much.

    • Ashley July 17, 2012 at 10:05 pm

      100% agree with you. Our airport should be ashamed. 5 lives lost in such a short time, all because of lack of security. Idiots.

  • Get a life July 17, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    You people dont have anything better to do with your selves than sit on the net complaining how this city is ran. Our officers do a great job protecting us and this town. And skywest is a great company who fell into the spotlight. Get off your butts and go make something of yourself instead of complaining.

  • Kelli July 17, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    I have long questioned the security at the new airport. One day last year I came in on the last flight of the night, and by the time I picked up my luggage, the only 2 employees on the property were the flight attendant from our flight, and one guy who unloaded the baggage. That’s it. No security guard, no Delta agents, no other SkyWest employees. That. Was. It. If it wasn’t in the middle of nowhere, it would be a great place for the homeless to hang out and take shelter b/c there is literally NO ONE to shoo them away.

  • Ashley July 17, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    If the airport hadn’t been moved to the middle of nowhere for absolutely no reason other than political I wonder if this still would’ve happened? Also, I sure hope the idiots in charge of security get a wake up call! 5 people could still be alive today if they had some better security (4 of which were wonderful young men with bright futures). A barbed wire fence and one cop to patrol the whole place. Really? That’s just idiotic. All the St. George “good ol boys” need to realize times have changed and they need to change right along with it.

  • techguy July 18, 2012 at 8:38 am

    What a shame; two fatal incidents at this airport in the space of a few months, neither of which needed to happen. The responsible authorities better increase security there before something else like this happens. If I were a plane owner, I would be afraid to keep it there.

    • J July 18, 2012 at 6:47 pm

      Yes, but one of those fatal ‘accidents’ was a suicide.

  • Panda July 18, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Security isn’t to blame for the 4 young men dying. The 4 young men were doing what young men do making stupid decisions. Fortunately most learn lessons over time and grow up, unfortunately that didn’t happen in their case. What was security supposed to do – test the pilot and crew with a breathalizer? Security would have had no authority for stopping the plane from taking off – when the 4 decided to take a joy ride in a plane. Yes security is an issue, and better security would have helped in the current case, but no amount of security could have prevented the accident in the case of the 4 young men dying.

  • Firefly July 18, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Sadly what this incident has done is advertise the vulnerability of the new airport. Lax security at the facility coupled with the ability of anyone to attempt to commandeer a jetliner will now draw the loonies to this area, thinking it is “easy pickings”. Again, I ask where is the city leadership on this? One commentator above speakes about the ‘good ‘ole boys” from the city needing to make changes for the security of the airport. Maybe what would be more accurate is the changing of the “good ‘ole boy” network at the City. Even the freshman members have had no difficulty in quickly assimilating into the “good ‘ole boy” network. Seems like definiate change in leadership is needed in City government.

    • Ashley July 18, 2012 at 12:57 pm

      I agree. We definitely need some new leadership in this city! However, I think it will be near impossible to get all the good ol boys out of office unless the younger generation like myself starts showing up at the voting booths.

  • Firefly July 18, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Also, is Marc Mortensen the Asst. to the City Manager or the Public Information Officer for the City? I guess he could be both. So , who is THE City Manager of this City? And why do we never hear from him? We hear from the Mayor quite a bit , but never from THE City Manager….just the Asst. to the City Manager. Hhmmm….

    • Murat July 18, 2012 at 2:26 pm

      Gary Esplin is the city manager.

  • Murat July 18, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    According to this link (http://www.utahsright.com/profile.php?id=1763771) Marc Mortensen has a gross salary of $116,389 for providing ‘support services’ and his boss, city manager Gary Esplin, makes $196,608. When we have easily preventable incidents such as this, why are we paying such extravagant salaries to incompetent leaders? Kind of makes you wonder just what these people do all day. Damage control for their ineptitude, apparently.

    • Dsull July 18, 2012 at 8:30 pm

      In what way does the ineptitude of leadership factor in the cause of the joyride of a licensed pilot with access to a plane. Sometimes people need to be responsible for their own actions. I’ve been flying out of st George for over ten years. Many times at 3-4 am. You going to try and bar me access because of some people’s poor judgement. And the Skywest employee would have been able to bypass security as well. We’re not LAX.

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