Wife sues over meteorologist’s death in NC helicopter crash
March 12, 2023 By Ben Finley, The Associated Press
The family of a meteorologist who was killed last year in a helicopter crash in North Carolina is suing a maintenance facility and the companies that owned and operated the aircraft.
The complaint filed this week in Mecklenburg County Court in Charlotte alleges negligence and claims the helicopter was running on contaminated fuel, which can lead to engine failure.
The suit claims the company that owned the aircraft is liable for the alleged failures of the helicopter’s pilot to properly preform a flight inspection as well as emergency procedures for engine failure. It also claims that an unnamed mechanic was negligent for failing to maintain and inspect the helicopter.
Meteorologist Jason Myers and pilot Chip Tayag died in November after the Robinson R44 helicopter crashed along a Charlotte-area interstate. Police praised the pilot for heroically avoiding the roadway.
Meyers worked for WBTV and Tayag worked for the Total Traffic and Weather Network, which is owned by parent company iHeartMedia, the lawsuit states.
Myers’ wife, Jillian Ann Myers, is suing maintenance facility Wilson Air Center-North Carolina, the Total Traffic and Weather Network and iHeartMedia.
The air center and iHeartMedia did not respond to emails seeking comment.
Gary C. Robb, a Missouri-based attorney representing Jillian Myers, said in a statement that the lawsuit “is about seeking answers as to what caused the helicopter crash and to hold the responsible parties fully accountable for Jason’s death.”
Robb previously served as a legal counsel for Vanessa Bryant, whose daughter and husband, Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, were among nine people who were killed in a 2020 helicopter crash.
Myers and his wife Jillian have four children. The family is seeking compensatory damages, including his net income, in excess of $25,000 as well as punitive damages.
Myers was raised in North Carolina’s Union and Catawba counties and worked in the city of Raleigh, and in Texas and Virginia before returning to the Charlotte area where he grew up, WBTV said in November.
Tayag had been a pilot for more than 20 years, the station said. He celebrated his three-year wedding anniversary in August, according to his Instagram page.
In the hours after the Nov. 22 crash, WBTV anchors mourned Myers and Tayag on the air while providing updates to viewers.
According to witness reports, Tayag prevented the helicopter from crashing onto Interstate-77 during a busy week of holiday travel.
“The pilot is a hero in my eyes,” Johnny Jennings, chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, tweeted on the day of the crash.