KETR Local
3:31 am
Wed March 4, 2009

Man steals then crashed plane near Athens

Athens – Henderson County authorities have arrested a man who stole an airplane then crashed and totaled it a couple miles away.

Police in Athens, southwest of Tyler, received reports Wednesday at approximately 9:10 a.m. referencing a possible theft of an airplane from the Athens Municipal Airport.

Upon arrival, Officer Ron McCurry was told by the airports operator that a man had untied and flown off in an aircraft equipped with six seats and valued at over $200,000. The airport's operator had said he had not lent out the plane to anyone. Reports indicate the man, identified as Josh Calhoun, of Brownsboro, appeared unqualified to fly as he was having trouble keeping the plane in the air.

Less than an hour later, Calhoun returned to the airport to retrieve his vehicle. At that time he was approached by officers and looked as if he had suffered an injury to his face. Following a search of the area, officials spotted the wrecked plane about two miles southeast of the airport. Lieutenant Mike Davis tells KETR the plane was found with its right wing missing and landing gear all tore up. Calhoun told officers it was his plane and didn't admit to crashing it, only landing it.

Calhoun was treated at a hospital before being taken into custody in the Henderson County Jail, charged with theft of over $200,000. He is said to have prior theft convictions.