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Pilot of crashed Sevier County helicopter has history of fraud, operating without certificate

Matthew Jones was not cleared to fly at the time of the fatal Sevier Co. crash, documents say.
One is dead and one is critically injured following the helicopter crash, officials said.
Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 10:59 AM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Matthew Jones, the pilot of a helicopter that crashed in Sevier County late last month, has a history of committing fraud and operating as a certified flight instructor without an airman’s certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration, according to an indictment obtained by WVLT News.

Jones was flying a helicopter that took off from the Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Airport on Dec. 29 when he crashed in Sevier County. Jones’ passenger died in the crash, and Jones himself was critically injured, according to documents from law enforcement.

Jones, a Utah native, was indicted in Utah on Oct. 13, 2021 for operating as a flight instructor and defrauding a person who was paying him for flight instruction, court documents say. Jones was part of a scheme that involved advertising his company as an instructor on Instagram and using $9,958.16 intended for instruction for personal use.

During the hearing, the court also ordered Jones be evaluated for THC levels and undergo treatment for substance abuse, court documents state. The court also denied Jones’ request to keep flying after the incident.

“Defendant requests permission to begin flying again,” court documents state. “Government states objections for the record. For the reasons stated on the record, the Court denies the request at this time.”

This means that Jones was not cleared for flying at the time of the December crash.

WVLT News obtained a police report following the crash, which outlines the details as officials responded to the scene.

Those interested can read Jones’ indictment in full below:

Matthew Jones by WVLT News on Scribd

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