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Grants Pass Helicopter Executives Indicted After Crash

A federal grand jury in Medford has indicted two former executives with Grants Pass-based Carson Helicopters. One of the company’s helicopters crashed in Northern California in 2008, killing nine firefighters. Eight were from Oregon.

Federal prosecutors laid out their case in a 25-page indictment. It alleges Steven Metheny and Levi Phillips conspired to defraud the government by submitting false paperwork on a number of Carson’s helicopters. One was the Oregon-based craft that went down near Redding, Calif.

Metheny is a former vice-president with Carson, and Phillips is the company’s former director of maintenance.

The two men are accused of falsifying helicopter weight and balance charts in order to secure $20 million in government firefighting contracts. Metheny faces 22 additional counts, ranging from mail and wire fraud to endangering the safety of an aircraft in flight.

An employee who picked up the phone at Carson helicopters said both men are no longer employed by the company.

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