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Video shows stolen Skywest plane hitting St. George airport
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Video surveillance released Wednesday shows what happened in July when a SkyWest pilot suspected of murder tried to steal a jet and sped out of the St. George Municipal airport before hitting the terminal.

The video released by St. George city government shows Brian Joseph Hedglin, 40, driving the plane across the airport near the car rental parking lot before crashing into the building.

At 12:49 a.m. on July 17, the plane is seen bumping up and down as it moves over parking strips, crashing into fences and knocking down light poles in the parking lot before it crashes. A police report released with the video says the plane damaged 14 cars.

Another view from the car rental area shows about 20 seconds of the Canadair Regional Jet 200 speeding past the building when the plane's left wing clips the side of the terminal building. After the plane crashes outside of the frame the motors are still evidently moving as debris continues to blow backwards into the frame.

Hedglin was wanted in connection with the murder of his former girlfriend in Colorado. The stabbed body of 39-year-old Christina Cornejo was found at Hedglin's home in Colorado Springs, Colo., a few days before the attempted hijacking. The St. George police report said Hedglin had a bandage covering what looked like a stab wound on the right side of his chest and a bruise on the left side of his back.

In an initial report responding St. George police officer Todd Pitcher stated "The jet engines were still running and several cars were piled up under the plane's wings."

After crashing the airplane into the terminal and cars, Hedglin committed suicide with a gunshot to the head. Police found and H&K semiautomatic pistol next to Hedglin's body.

Hedglin had been a pilot for the airline since 2005.

Just before 1 a.m., a police officer near the airport spotted a motorcycle parked near the southeast side of the airport with its engine still warm.

Police believe Hedglin parked his motorcycle, threw a rug over razor-wire fence and used leather gloves to scale it. Once inside the fence, Hedglin got inside a regional jet, and started the engine.

Hedglin backed the aircraft away from the jet bridge then began to pull forward. The jet's left wing hit the jet bridge, and when Hedglin turned to head east, he scraped the same wing along the terminal building, police have said.

The jet passed through security fences, over landscaping and parking strips before finally coming to a stop after hitting numerous cars in the parking lot.

The same officer who saw the motorcycle saw the plane at that moment, and observed the jet engines still running.

SkyWest officials opened the plane and officers found Hedglin dead in the aisle of the passenger area of the plane.

Police said they immediately identified Hedglin — the woman's former boyfriend — as their suspect. A no-bail warrant for murder was issued for Hedglin's arrest. He had been put on administrative leave by SkyWest on July 13 for the allegations, though formal charges had not yet been filed.The couple had dated for four years, but the relationship began to progressively sour with Hedglin being more abusive, court records indicate.

Hedglin had a prior criminal record dealing with harassment and theft and also had a current restraining order issued against him by his former girlfriend.

The Colorado National Guard confirmed Hedglin was a Food Service Specialist with the Guard, who had no other specialized training and had not been deployed for combat.

cimaron@sltrib.com

Twitter: @CimCity

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