Investigation launched by sheriff into National Guard helicopter crash

An investigation is currently underway in Texas to determine whether any criminal wrongdoing was involved in a fatal crash that occurred with a National Guard helicopter. ABC News has obtained information regarding this incident.

On March 8, tragedy struck near the U.S.-Mexico border, claiming the lives of two brave individuals: Chief Warrant Officer 2 Casey Frankoski and Chief Warrant Officer 2 John Grassia, both esteemed members of the New York Army National Guard. Additionally, U.S. Border Patrol agent Chris Luna, a resident of South Texas, also lost his life in the incident. This devastating event has left a profound impact on all those involved.

A National Guard member, whose identity remains unknown, sustained injuries in a collision that took place in the rural area of Starr County.

According to military officials, even though the crash involved a crew from New York, the UH-72 Lakota helicopter was assigned to the Army National Guard in Washington, D.C.

The authorities have not yet disclosed the reason behind the crash.

Major Carlos Delgado of the Starr County Sheriff’s Office informed ABC News via email that while the case has been handed over to the Department of Defense, his office is conducting its own investigation to ascertain if any criminal activity took place.

According to Delgado, the official investigation began right after they received a call requesting emergency medical services and their presence.

ABC News recently uncovered the existence of an investigation into the crash after submitting a request for public records related to the incident from Starr County officials in Texas. This disclosure came to light as a result of the Texas Public Information Act.

The Office of the Starr County Attorney and the Starr County Sheriff’s Office initially directed ABC News to the Department of Defense in response to their request. However, when ABC News clarified that they were specifically seeking records held at the local level, the county denied the request. They cited a Texas law which states that the release of the information would interfere with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime.

The criminal investigation in Starr County is separate from the ongoing safety investigation being conducted by the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center at Fort Novosel in Alabama.

According to Jimmie E. Cummings, Jr., the spokesperson for the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center, the ongoing investigation is solely focused on safety. He emphasized that this is the only investigation they are currently involved in.

According to Delgado, the final reports have not yet been delivered to the Starr County Sheriff’s Office. They continue to maintain their stance that Texas law permits them to withhold any further information.

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