Federal and local authorities are investigating a plane crash in rural Utah that killed a former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher and three others Friday morning.
The Utah County Sheriff’s Office said that Tyson Colby Brummett, a 35-year-old former Phillies player and resident of Salt Lake City, was piloting a Cessna 172 when it crashed in the Wasatch Mountains south of Salt Lake City just before 8 a.m. July 3.
Along with Mr. Brummett, the plane crash killed Alex Blackhurst Ruegner, 35; Mr. Ruegner’s aunt Elaine W. Blackhurst, 60; and her husband, Douglas Robinson Blackhurst, 62, both of Riverton, Utah. Mr. Ruegner and Mr. Brummett were friends, according to WUSA9 Washington D.C.
The Utah County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that a man and his two sons were hiking along the Dry Creek Trailhead southeast of Salt Lake City when they witnessed the plane in distress. The man, Gregg Rawlings, told Salt Lake City’s KSL News Radio that he and his sons were taking a rest near the summit when they saw the plane descending near the mountain and knew the aircraft wouldn’t be able to clear it.
Mr. Rawlings told KSL News Radio that as the plane got closer, it made a hard right turn and then entered into an out-of-control corkscrew motion. He lost sight of the plane when it dropped below the tree line. Moments later they heard the impact at the bottom of the canyon.
The Sheriff’s Office said it received a report of a small plane crash near Box Elder Peak in American Fork Canyon and dispatched deputies to search for the downed plane. Meanwhile, Mr. Rawlings and his sons climbed down to the plane crash site and verified that the four occupants were deceased.
Utah County Sheriff’s Sergeant Spencer Cannon told KSL News Radio that if Mr. Rawlings hadn’t reported the crash, it might have been several hours before anyone noticed it missing, and authorities wouldn’t have known where to look for it.
The Sheriff’s Office said that the plane departed from South Valley Regional Airport in West Jordan, Utah. They did not say where the plane was headed.
The Phillies drafted Brummett in 2007 out of UCLA. He made a major league appearance in 2012 and later pitched in the Toronto Blue Jays minor league system in 2013 and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Class AA team in 2014.
In a statement, the Philadelphia Phillies said: “The Phillies organization sends heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of former pitcher Tyson Brummett, along with three members of the Ruegner and Blackhurst families, who tragically passed away in a plane crash yesterday morning.”
Beasley Allen lawyer Mike Andrews focuses much of his practice on aviation litigation and currently represents families of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 victims involving the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. In addition to his Ethiopian Airlines crash clients, Mike has represented people seriously injured in a variety of aviation crashes, and the families of those killed in both civilian and military airplane crashes and helicopter crashes.