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National News

Texas sheriff finds ‘no criminality’ in deadly National Guard helicopter crash near border

todayJuly 10, 2024

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Starr County Sheriff’s Office

(NEW YORK) — No criminal charges will be filed in connection with a deadly National Guard helicopter crash that occurred near the U.S.-Mexico border in March.

The Starr County Sheriff’s Office in Texas has closed its investigation into the March 8 incident, which involved a UH-72 Lakota chopper assigned to Washington, D.C.’s Army National Guard.

“No criminality was found,” Major Carlos Delgado of the Starr County Sheriff’s Office told ABC News by email.

The crash killed U.S. Border Patrol agent Chris Luna along with Casey Frankoski and John Grassia, both of whom held the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 2 with the New York Army National Guard.

National Guardsman Jacob Pratt survived the collision and was transferred less than a month later to Brooke Army Medical Center to recover from his injuries, according to a report by ABC affiliate KRGV-TV.

The Pentagon could not immediately be reached for comment.

The existence of the sheriff’s office’s investigation, which is separate from the Army’s safety probe, was disclosed in the spring after ABC News filed a request under the Texas Public Information Act seeking public records associated with the incident.

The county initially denied the request, citing a Texas law that says that the “release of the information would interfere with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime.”

With the criminal investigation having concluded without charges, the sheriff’s office released body-worn camera videos of the response to the crash to ABC News on Friday.

The videos show the crumbled remains of the helicopter in a remote field alongside a dirt road, but do not shed additional insight into the cause of the incident.

“What a tragedy,” a sheriff’s deputy can be heard saying.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Written by: ABC News

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