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Crash that killed mayor was an accident

Associated Press

SIREN, Wis. -- The airplane crash that killed St. Anthony, Minn., Mayor Randy Hodson hours after he was questioned by police appears to have been an accident, said Burnett County Sheriff Dean Roland.

Roland said he checked out the possibility that Hodson, 47, committed suicide because on the day Hodson died, St. Anthony police had accused him of falsely reporting the theft of a radically modified 1966 GTO muscle car.

But after interviewing Hodson's family and friends and reviewing the preliminary federal crash report, the sheriff said there was no reason to believe that Hodson took his own life.

The mayor was an experienced pilot who was flying solo.

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Roland said radio communications with air traffic controllers before the Aug. 12 crash showed the mayor was frantically trying to return to Siren, Wis., after severe vibration rattled his airplane.

Radar indicated that Hodson turned his plane as instructed by the controllers. The plane crashed in a Burnett County hayfield, about 120 miles from the Twin Cities. Hodson was the only person killed.

"At this time it purely looks like an accident," Roland said. "There isn't the consistency with suicide. It doesn't mean it didn't happen, but I'm just not seeing it."

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