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Report: Pilot in Mesquite crash told police he took a swig of vodka

A glassy-eyed Ryan Dashiell, swaying as he spoke to Mesquite police last week, admitted through slurred words to taking a swig of vodka, according to the commercial jet pilot’s arrest report.

Earlier that July 17 evening, however, he had climbed into a twin-engine Cessna 550 aircraft in Pasco, Washington.

Dashiell was headed to Henderson, but by around 6:40 p.m., he was flying over Mesquite, about 100 miles northeast of his destination, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor has said.

At 6:44 p.m., the jet slammed into the runway of the Mesquite Municipal Airport, 1200 Kitty Hawk Drive. And then it erupted into flames.

By the time the large blaze was extinguished, only half of the aircraft was intact. Left behind was a burnt shell of the nose of the jet and the cockpit, where Dashiell would have been sitting.

Three Mercy Air medics later told police that they rushed over to pull Dashiell out from the wreckage after hearing “a loud bang,” and almost immediately after Dashiell had emerged from the jet, the medics “could smell the odor of alcoholic beverage,” according to the Mesquite Police Department arrest report.

Later, Mesquite police officer Ross Stratton watched as first responders evaluated Dashiell at the scene. The pilot could hardly stand up straight without swaying, the report said.

“I observed Ryan’s speech to be slow and slurred,” Stratton wrote later in the arrest report. “I observed Ryan’s eyes to be red and glassy.”

After Dashiell’s check-up was completed, Stratton asked the Spokane, Washington, pilot several times if he had anything to drink that evening.

“I don’t drink and fly,” Dashiell told him, according to the report.

Eventually during the questioning, Dashiell suddenly “realized he survived the crash” and told Stratton, “I took a pull on a jug of vodka.”

But Stratton refused to perform a field sobriety test without his lawyer present, at which point he was arrested on one misdemeanor count of flying while under the influence of alcohol and was taken to Mesa View Hospital for a blood draw.

Once at the hospital, the report states, Dashiell “made multiple threatening comments” to police and medical staff when they tried to draw a blood sample.

“Ryan said it would take thirty of us to hold him down for the blood draw,” Stratton wrote in the report, later noting that two vials of blood were eventually drawn around 8:45 p.m.

Mesquite police said last week that Dashiell was set to be booked into the Clark County Detention Center, although it was unclear Tuesday whether he had since been transferred to the county jail.

Court records show a status hearing scheduled for Wednesday morning in Mesquite Justice Court.

Contact Rio Lacanlale at rlacanlale@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @riolacanlale on Twitter.

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