Man pleads guilty to fraud over helicopter weights

AP News
Posted: Nov 24, 2014 8:54 PM

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — A former executive of a southern Oregon company has pleaded guilty to providing false aircraft weights to the U.S. Forest Service to win a firefighting contract. A helicopter the company provided crashed, killing nine people fighting a wildfire.

Steven Metheny, of Medford, entered guilty pleas in federal court Monday to two of the 22 counts against him.

Metheny was vice president of Carson Helicopters outside Grants Pass when one of the company's helicopters crashed on takeoff in 2008 while carrying a firefighting crew near Weaverville, California. It was the deadliest helicopter crash involving working firefighters in U.S. history.

Defense lawyer Steve Myers noted that prosecutors never alleged that the false helicopter weights contributed to the crash in any way.