A grieving mother is denying authorities’ assertion that her teen son stole an aircraft, which later crashed, killing him and two other teenagers.
The teen pilot, 17-year-old Jordan Smith, had his own key to the aircraft, maintains Sherrie Smith, and had flown the aircraft many times before. The teen was just one test short of his private pilots license.
The plane went down in the woods Tuesday night, less than a mile from the Walker County Airport in Jasper, Alabama. Smith notes that she had heard from her son that evening, after he had planned to meet friends at the airport, northwest of Birmingham. Smith added that her son had flown the plane several times before, and even had his own key to the aircraft.
Jordan Smith was a high school junior who, according to his mother, fell in love with flying at and early age. Smith last spoke to her son by cell phone at about 10 pm Tuesday night. When one of her son’s friend called later concerning reports of a plane crash, Smith tried unsuccessfully to get a hold of her teenaged son.
The other two male teens in the plane also died.
Walker County sheriff’s Chief Deputy James Painter said earlier Wednesday that authorities believed the three teenagers took off in the plane without permission, according to an earlier report by The Inquisitr.
“We don’t know for sure but we think it was some teenagers who stole the plane and were sort of joyriding it,” Painter told The Associated Press. “They got it in and took off and didn’t go very far.”
“It was a student pilot flying an airplane without permission, an airplane that he was not qualified to fly at night,” said airport manager Edwin Banks.