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PAYSON, Utah - A Utah man who hours before had been arrested on domestic violence charges crashed a plane into the front of his home Monday, killing himself.
Duane Youd, 47, of Payson, died when the Cesna 525 CitationJet struck the house, exploding and setting the house on fire, according to Payson police officials. Youd was killed in the crash, but two people inside -- identified by the Salt Lake Tribune as Youd’s wife and her son -- escaped uninjured through the back of the home.
“He is an experienced pilot,” Sgt. Noemi Sandoval, a Payson police spokeswoman, told the news media. “He flew from Spanish Fork Airport directly here, into the home.”
Sandoval said the toll could have been worse. Youd, who was able to fly below power lines, clipped a shed and a car before the plane hit the house.
“I can’t believe he was able to fly in like that,” Youd’s friend, Alan Herbert, said at the crash scene. “If he hadn’t hit the car, I wonder how much more damage this would have done to the house.”
Payson police officials said that Youd was arrested Sunday night and charged with assault for allegedly abusing his wife. That incident took place in American Fork Canyon, where the couple reportedly went to discuss their marital problems.
Witnesses who saw the assault called the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.
“It was not just a slap or a shove,” Utah County sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon told the Tribune. “It was an ongoing thing described by witnesses.”
Youd was booked into the Utah County Jail at 9:18 p.m. on an assault charge, jail records show. He was released around 12:30 a.m. Monday after signing an agreement to stay away from his wife and posting $1,940 bond.
Payson police officials said Youd requested assistance from police officers there to accompany him to his home so he could pick up some belongings and his vehicle. The trip to the house took place without incident.
Less than two hours later, he crashed the plane into the home, authorities said. The Payson Fire Department responded, and firefighters extinguished the blaze.
Youd’s son from a prior marriage, Parker Youd, spoke to reporters at the scene. The 17-year-old, who was at his mother’s house when the crash took place, said his father told him things were going to be “rough for a little bit,” but gave no indication that he would hurt himself or others.
Parker Youd was likely the last person to talk to his father, who he described as “the best dad (he) could ask for.”
“I said, ‘I love you. Good luck. I’ll see you tomorrow,’” Parker Youd said. “He said, ‘I love you, too,’ got in his truck, and drove away.”
Joslyn Youd, 21, posted a photo of her father, smiling and holding a caught fish in his hands, on Facebook. The caption read, “I’ll love you forever.”
Neighbors and friends who knew Duane Youd said they, too, were shocked by the events that took place. Zach Linch, who lives next door to the crime scene, said Youd was always a good neighbor.
“I would never have have expected anything like this,” Linch told the Tribune. “He seemed like a normal guy to me.”
Herbert, who had known Youd since they were teenagers, said the crash was not something he would have expected from his friend.
“He was an exciting guy to be around,” Herbert told the newspaper. “Always positive, never negative. If you were feeling bad, he’d always make sure you were feeling good when you left.”