A small-plane pilot has been charged with reckless endangerment for parachuting out of his stalled aircraft, which crashed 35 feet from a house, authorities said.
Josh Wallace, 40, bailed out of his Cessna 150 on Sunday as it approached Kobelt Airport, 60 miles north of New York City. Wallace, who was an experienced sky diver and a licensed pilot since October, was flying from Florida to his hometown of Montreal.The plane came down in the back yard of Ted and Mary Garrison, missing their home by about 35 feet.
The $12,000 plane did not burn on impact but was left "folded up like an accordion," said Ken Vernooy, who witnessed the crash.
Wallace told authorities he knew one wing tip had been damaged before he flew the plane, according to Ulster County Sheriff Michale La-Paglia.
Wallace also told authorities he attempted to aim the plane away from homes and toward trees before jumping.
"He should have ridden the plane down," said Leonard Miller, chief of detectives for the sheriff's department. "The fact that he wore a parachute while he flew had a bearing on the case."
Wallace said he abandoned the craft because he didn't trust his ability to land in Sunday's high winds.
He suffered a sprained ankle in his 1,000-foot jump.
Wallace faces a May 20 court appearance and could be sentenced to seven years in prison if convicted.