Payson • A small jet crashed into a house in Payson early Monday, killing the pilot — who police say lived in the home with his wife.
Duane Youd, 47, had been booked into the Utah County jail at about 7:30 p.m. Sunday after being suspected of assaulting his wife, Payson Police Sgt. Noemi Sandoval told the news media, including a FOX 13 reporter. He bailed out of jail, returned to the home with a police officer at about midnight to retrieve belongings and his truck, and left without incident.
“He is an experienced pilot. He flew from Spanish Fork airport directly here, into the home,” Sandoval said, adding that it could have been “much worse."
The small jet flew under power lines and clipped a shed and “that maybe changed his trajectory a little bit," Sandoval said.
The plane hit the house at 584 E. East Canyon Road about 2:30 a.m. and exploded. Firefighters arrived to find the home engulfed in flames. Youd’s wife and her son, who were Inside the house escaped through the back of the home and were uninjured.
The aftermath looked like a Hollywood backlot during the filming of a blockbuster. The charred remnants of the Cessna Citation Jet 525 sat in front of the home. An overturned car was beside it; what remained of the plane rested by the front door.
The plane hit the car before slamming into the house.
“I can’t believe he was able to fly in like that,” Alan Herbert, Duane Youd’s friend of more than 30 years, said as he surveyed the crash scene in disbelief. “If he hadn’t hit the car, I wonder how much more damage this would have done to the house.”
Canyon Road remained closed Monday morning from approximately 400 East to 600 East and from 1260 South to the mouth of Payson Canyon as police investigated.
Youd’s 17-year-old son from a previous marriage, Parker Youd, said his father gave no indication he planned to hurt himself or others.
“He told me only that it was going to be rough for a little bit, but that was it,” Parker Youd said Monday.
The teenager, who lived at the house but was not at home when the plane crashed — he was at his mother’s home — surveyed the scene stoically. He calmly answered questions from reporters, seemingly both stunned and resigned to what happened.
Parker Youd said he was probably the last person to talk to his father.
“I said, ‘I love you. Good luck. I’ll see you tomorrow,’” the son said. “He said, ‘I love you, too,’ got in his truck and drove away."
“He’s just a good guy,” Parker Youd added. “The best dad I could ask for.”
Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon said deputies on Sunday evening received a report of a man assaulting a woman in American Fork Canyon. When deputies arrived, they encountered Youd. Cannon said the woman turned out to be Youd’s wife.
Witnesses told deputies the assault occurred in an area of the canyon known as Cascade Springs and continued to the summit trailhead. Cannon said Youd’s wife suffered some injury, but he didn’t know the extent.
“It was not just a slap or a shove," Cannon said. "It was an ongoing thing described by witnesses.”
Cannon said Youd used a bondsman to post $1,940 bail — an amount set by state courts for domestic violence suspects. Before he was released from jail, Youd also would have been required, Cannon said, to sign an agreement not to contact his wife.
Youd had lived in the house for about two years, said his former next-door neighbor, Zach Linch, who was stunned to see the aftermath.
“I would never have expected anything like this,” Linch said. “He seemed like a normal guy to me. Good neighbor.”
Linch said he never saw any indication Youd was violent.
Ronalyn Taylor, who lives a few blocks from Youd’s home, said the plane “sounded like it was going to crash into our house.”
“I didn’t hear the explosion,” Taylor added, “but I heard all the sirens. It woke me up from a dead sleep.
“It didn’t sound like a small little plane either.”
Citation 525s have two jet engines. They can carry up to two crew members and eight passengers.
Herbert, who had been friends with Duane Youd since the two were teenagers, said this didn’t seem like something his friend would do.
“It was a complete shock when I turned on the TV and saw his picture,” Herbert said. He saw Youd and his wife a few months ago, and they seemed fine.
Youd “was happy and had lots of energy just like he always did,” Herbert said.
“He was an exciting guy to be around,” Herbert added. “Always positive; never negative. If you were feeling bad, he’d always make sure you were feeling good when you left.”
Reporter Nate Carlisle contributed to this article.
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