Local News

Indicted Pilot Of Fatal 2004 Chopper Crash To Represent Self

Posted June 26, 2006

— A helicopter pilot indicted in connection with the death of a Franklin County sheriff's deputy appeared in court Monday.

During the hearing, Ben Barrick said he is representing himself, but he is getting legal advice from another person. Barrick is charged with involuntary manslaughter for the May 2004 helicopter crash that killed deputy Ted Horton.

An investigation later revealed that Barrick brought the chopper to Franklin County and worked out a secret lease with the sheriff.

The contract between the two promised an aircraft in excellent flying condition. Yet, a federal investigation revealed that fatigue failure in the tailboom caused the fatal crash.

According to reports, Barrick chose to fly despite warnings he had not properly maintained the helicopter.

Franklin County District Attorney Sam Currin said those kinds of facts led the grand jury to indict Barrick.

"He should have known. He was warned," Currin told WRAL in March. "He almost killed himself. He killed a fellow deputy."

Monday's court date was the third in a series of hearings leading up to a potential trial. Another hearing is scheduled for Aug. 2. If convicted, Barrick faces up to 20 months in prison.


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