Local News

Document Spells Out Liability In Fatal Franklin Helicopter Crash

Posted June 1, 2004 6:23 a.m. EDT

— An agreement spells out liability in the Franklin County helicopter crash that killed a deputy on May 14.

"In the course of this investigation, the existence of an agreement between Netstar and sheriff of Franklin County was discovered which had been signed by Sheriff Jones and Ben T. Barrick, as president," county attorney Darnell Batton said.

Batton presented the agreement which specifically outlines the county's liability in the event of a crash. The sheriff told investigators he signed the agreement without reading it to keep his friend, Horton, happy.

Horton was responsible for bringing the Netstar helicopter to Franklin County. Based on the agreement and his three-week investigation, the county attorney concluded both deputies were on duty when the helicopter crashed.

"It appears both officer's injuries, including Deputy Horton's fatal injuries, arose from their employment with the Franklin County Sheriff's Office," Batton said.

After that conclusion, commissioners went into closed session to talk about liability issues with the attorney. When they came out, they agreed to file worker's compensation for both deputies.