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Medical Examiner: Student pilot had cocaine, ecstasy in system at time of fatal crash

Posted at 4:39 PM, Apr 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-09 09:39:39-04

SCOTTSDALE, AZ — A student pilot had drugs in his system at the time of a plane crash that killed him and five others, according to the Arizona Medical Examiner's office.

The crash happened at the TPC Scottsdale golf course near Bell and Hayden roads in April of 2018.

Scottsdale police believe the aircraft, a Piper PA24, originated from Scottsdale Airport, near Hayden Road and Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard, and crashed shortly after takeoff. The NTSB says the plane was headed to Las Vegas, and crashed less than a mile away from the Scottsdale Airport.

According to the medical examiner's office, the pilot tested negative for drugs. The student pilot, however, tested positive for cocaine and ecstasy.

The report also said the plane's weight limit was 3,200 pounds, but estimated weight at takeoff was more than 3,300 pounds.

Police said there were six people aboard the plane, and no one survived.

The victims were identified as 26-year-old Erik Valente, 28-year-old James Louis Pedroza, 23-year-old Mariah Sunshine Coogan, 28-year-old Anand Anil Patel, 22-year-old Helena Lagos, and 23-year-old Iris Carolina Rodriguez Garcia.