NTSB: Pilot in Lawrence County Plane Crash had Marijuana in His System

FEBRUARY 6, 2007 - Posted at 7:34 a.m. CST

WALNUT RIDGE, AR - An investigative report says the pilot of a small airplane who was killed along with a passenger last summer had enough marijuana in his system that it might have contributed to the accident.

The final report on the National Transportation Safety Board investigation of the crash near Walnut Ridge said the board ruled that the probable cause of the crash was the failure of pilot Jason Heard of Walnut Ridge to fly high enough and maintain enough airspeed to avoid a stall.  The report says the 31-year-old Heard lost control of the airplane while maneuvering at low altitude.

Also killed in the July 17 crash was 26-year-old Robert Blakeney of Hoxie.

A witness working in a field told a board investigator that the 1946 Piper J3 Cub was flying at no more than 50 miles per hour and was 25 to 50 feet above the ground.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)