VERDE HERITAGE 1971: AIRPLANE CRASHES, July
AIRPLANE CRASH EAST OF JEROME, July 3
"The crash of the light aircraft occurred about 1 1/2 miles east of Jerome on the north side of Highway 89A, Saturday, July 3. The impact caused a fire covering 20 acres which was extinguished by Forest Service slurry aircraft and Jerome volunteer firemen. The aircraft had just taken on 40 gallons of fuel at the Prescott airport a few minutes earlier."
"The air crash deaths of Melvin L. Lawrence, 27, and Michelle Horner, 25, both of California, were ruled accidental Friday afternoon in the Upper Verde Precinct Court. Lawrence had been a flight instructor and Miss Horner was a student pilot."
"Deaths were due to multiple injuries and burning. Dr. Albert O. Daniels, of Prescott, performed the postmortem. The hearing was held in the Justice Court of Donald Smyth with 5 witnesses present. The ruling came after Justice of the Peace Donald Smyth, acting as coroner, discharged the jury when 1 of the 6 jurors was unable to be present at the inquest."
"Jurors summoned were: James H. Blevins and Mike Westcott, both of Clarkdale; Art Trevis, Howard Westcott, Jerry Brown, and D. Chase Sigerfoos, all of Cottonwood."
(Verde Independent; Thursday, July 15, 1971; page 15.)
AIRPLANE CRASH NEAR SEDONA AND OAK CREEK CANYON, July 17
"A veteran Flagstaff pilot and the new Coconino Forest Flagstaff District Ranger were killed Saturday afternoon when the Cessna 206 plane they were flying to observe the lightening caused Slide Fire near Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon crashed into the rim. Cause of the crash, still unknown at press time, is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration."
"The men were Pilot Harold D. Slay, of Wright Flyte Service, and Ranger Rollo Julander, 44, flying as a Forest Service observer. Slay, who had had 15,000 hours of flight time, was 'a highly revered pilot,' according to John Carruthers, Fixed Base Operator of the Sedona Airport. It was Ranger Julander's first observation flight, Carruthers says."
"During forest fires, he reports, the Forest Service engages commercial flying services to fly the Forest Service observers over the scene so that the proper placement of fire fighters and other operations may be managed. Julander, who had his own radio for ground communication, is said to have reported trouble just before the crash."
"The plane had been flown out of Flagstaff. The crash did not start a fire. The bodies of the two men were brought out shortly after the crash, according to forest service officials."
"By Elizabeth Rigby, Sedona Editor."
(Verde Independent; Thursday, July 22, 1971; page 1.)