Tulare Country Sheriff’s Civilian Pilot, James Chavez, 45, and Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Ballantyne were killed February 10th when their single-engine plane crashed near Springville in Tulare County.

Chavez and Ballantyne were helping with the arrest of a man in Central California when the two-seater plane hit the side of a mountain and burst into flame.

Chavez, a resident of Hanford, was a veteran pilot and had significant aviation experience. He had served as an officer in both the Army National Guard and the Navy Reserve, and was a Black Hawk pilot for the California Army Reserve National Guard 1106th TASMG Company A.

He is survived by his wife, Melissa, daughter, Jayleen, 10 and son, Josiah, 6.

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