1 Dead After Missouri State Highway Patrol Helicopter Crash

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO — The pilot of a Missouri State Highway Patrol helicopter died in a crash in a residential subdivision in the Clarkson Valley area¬†Friday morning.

Bell 206B JetRanger Wreckage

No one on the ground was injured. The pilot was Highway Patrol Sgt. Joe Schuengel, 47, a 17-year veteran of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. The highway patrol’s headquarters in Jefferson City confirmed that the helicopter carried only Schuengel, who was killed on impact.

The helicopter was working traffic enforcement above Interstate 55 in Jefferson County that morning. Two other highway patrol troopers were in the helicopter for that duty, but Schuengel dropped them off and was returning to Spirit of St. Louis Airport in Chesterfield when the helicopter crashed at about 11 a.m. The tower at Spirit airport lost the helicopter from radar, then called in a St. Louis County police helicopter to fly over the area and see what had happened

The helicopter crashed in the Kehrs Mill Trail subdivision along Horseshoe Ridge Road between Chesterfield and Ballwin. One observer and about a dozen neighbors ran over to crash site, which was strewn with glass and papers, he said. The wreckage was smoking and spilling fuel and oil. He said he saw the pilot, who wasn’t moving.

Several local workers who were also in the area and said they heard what seemed like a scraping noise and then a loud thud. When they got to the crash site, they found the helicopter’s rotor had detached from the flattened wreckage of the rest of the craft. The rotor ended up in somone’s yard, they said. According to the FAA, the Bell 206B JetRanger helicopter was manufactured in 1981. The helicopter was Troop C’s only helicopter.

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