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Utah man crashes plane into his own house after assaulting wife, police say

by Associated Press /  / Updated 

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PAYSON, Utah — A Utah man flew a small plane into his own house early Monday just hours after he had been arrested for assaulting his wife in a nearby canyon where the couple went to talk over their problems, authorities said.

The pilot, Duane Youd, died. His wife and a child who were in the home got out and survived despite the front part the two-story house being engulfed in flames, Payson police Sgt. Noemi Sandoval said.

The crash occurred about 2:30 a.m. (4:30 a.m. ET) Monday in Payson, a city of about 20,000 residents 60 miles south of Salt Lake City.

Investigators believe the plane belonged to Youd's employer and that he intentionally flew into his own house, Sandoval said. He was an experienced pilot, she said. It wasn't immediately clear who employed Youd.

It's unknown if the child in the house is related to Youd, Sandoval said.

Youd had been arrested about 7:30 p.m. Sunday after witnesses called police to report that Youd was assaulting his wife, Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon said. The couple had been drinking and went to American Fork Canyon to talk about problems they were having.

Youd was booked into jail on suspicion of domestic violence and then bailed out, Cannon said. Youd requested an officer escort to go to his home so he could get his truck and some belongings around midnight. That occurred without incident, Sandoval said.

Within hours, Youd was taking off in the plane from the Spanish Fork-Springville Airport about 15 miles north of his home. He flew directly to his neighborhood and crashed into his house, Sandoval said.

Photos of the wreckage showed the white plane charred and in pieces in the front yard nearby an overturned and crushed car. Most of the upscale house was still intact, but heavily burned in the front.

Police had responded one previous time to the house on a domestic violence incident, Sandoval said. Online court records show that Youd agreed on July 23 to attend marriage and family counselling sessions for six months as part of a plea agreement following an April 8 domestic violence incident in which he was charged with disorderly conduct.

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