PAYSON — Hours after a Payson man was released from jail in a domestic violence case, police say he took off in a small plane and then crashed it into his own house.
Duane "Rhedd" Youd, 47, died in the crash. But his wife and her adult son were able to escape the crash and burning home uninjured. Payson Police Sgt. Noemi Sandoval called it a "miracle" that the other two survived.
"It could have been so much worse," she said.
Despite his alleged actions, some of Youd's children stood up for him Monday, saying they will remember him as a hard-working, giving man who had hit a rough patch in his life.
The bizarre and violent string of events began about 7:30 p.m. Sunday in American Fork Canyon. Sandoval said Youd and his wife got into a fight.
"They had been drinking. He assaulted her and witnesses saw this happening," she said.
Those witnesses called the Utah County Sheriff's Office. Deputies arrested Youd and booked him into the Utah County Jail about 9:20 p.m. for investigation of assault. In his mug shot from the jail, Youd has obvious scratches and cuts on his nose and forehead.
A few hours later Youd bailed out, Sandoval said.
At 12:52 a.m. Monday, Youd called Payson police for a "keep the peace" call, meaning he was going to go back to his home and collect a few personal items and wanted police there to make sure there wasn't any additional fighting.
"There was no argument here at the home," Sandoval said of Youd's return to his house.
But after he left, police believe he went to the Spanish Fork Airport and took a Cessna Citation 525 jet. The plane belonged to the company he worked for and he had access to it, but he did not personally own it, according to Sandoval.
When contacted by the Deseret News on Monday, the airport operations manager said, "I don't want to talk to you."
About 2:40 a.m., Youd — whom Sandoval called an "experienced pilot" — crashed into the front of his house, 584 E. Canyon Road, fully engulfing the front of the home in flames.
"We can only speculate what the motive is behind it," the sergeant said. "But he is an experienced pilot and he flew from Spanish Fork airport directly here and into the home."
At least one family member apparently believed the act was intentional. In a recording from Broadcastify, a dispatcher tells first responders about a phone call from the "son of the homeowner" who informed them that everyone was out of the house. The dispatcher said she was "advised (that) his stepfather, Duane Youd, flew the aircraft into the home purposely."
The plane clipped a shed across the street before hitting the house, possibly altering the trajectory of the aircraft's flight pattern, Sandoval said. "We don't know what his ultimate goal (was), whether he meant to hit (the home) low like he did or he meant to hit it higher."
Charred remains of the plane were in front of the house Monday next to a car that was tipped onto its side. Remarkably, a good portion of the house was still standing.
"Our house just shook … really loud — loudest explosion I've probably ever heard," said neighbor Tyler Geldmacher. "And then we ran to the front door and you could see flames bigger than their house."
Police say Youd had a history of domestic violence.
In April he was arrested for disorderly conduct. He eventually pleaded guilty on July 23, taking a plea in abeyance to the same charge. As part of his probation, he was ordered to attend marriage and family counseling, according to court records.
But Youd's children said that's not who their father was.
"He was one of the most loving men that I knew. He would help anyone out in a heartbeat with anything," said daughter Joslyn Youd, who flew to Utah from her home in Arizona after being notified of the crash.
"He's not this person that's being portrayed. … I feel very, very, very, blessed to call him my father."
"I want him to be remembered as the hard-working man he was," said Parker Youd, 17, who lives in the house that the plane crashed into, but had left before that happened.
The Youd children said their father and stepmother had been going through some rough times in their marriage.
"He was hurting. He was in a lot of pain," Joslyn Youd said.
Parker was at the house when his father got out of jail and returned home to collect some personal belongings.
"I said, 'I love you. Good luck. I'll see you tomorrow.' He said, 'I love you, too,' and he got in his truck and drove away," he said. "This was a very unexpected thing."
Flying was one of their father's loves, the children said. He used to fly for Pinnacle Airlines, which is now Endeavor Air, a company that operates as Delta Connection.25 comments on this story
Youd's Facebook page says he went to aviation school at Utah Valley University and once worked as a medevac pilot for Guardian Flight Alaska, which provides air transportation for patients in Alaska.
More recently, Youd was the owner of Rhedd's Tint and Trim in Payson, a car detailing service.
The National Transportation Safety Administration will investigate the plane crash.
Help for people in abusive relationships can be found by contacting the YWCA's Women in Jeopardy program at 801-537-8600, or the confidential statewide Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-897-LINK (5465). Resources are also available online at udvc.org.
Contributing: Caitlin Burchill, Paul Nelson