Student pilot in deadly plane crash had cocaine in the system, officials say

James Pedroza, a student pilot who was on a flight that crashed, leaving six people dead, had cocaine in his system, officials said.


A student pilot is sitting in front of an ill-fated flight — that was also wearing a Instagram model and social media star — had cocaine in his system when the plane crashed on an Arizona golf course in April, the Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office said Wednesday.

James Pedroza, 28, was one of six people killed in the April 9 wreck. The Piper PA-24 Comanche crashed shortly after take-off on the Champions Golf course located north of the Scottsdale Airport, AZ Central reported. The National Transportation Safety Board said the plane had six seats.

The Taj Mahal. Essentially, it is a nice big grave. #agra#tajmahal#india#jetset#day6vegatarian

A post shared by James pedroza (@itsactuallyprettydope) on Sep 17, 2017 at 10:06 am PDT

The agency released the autopsy reports of the six victims this week. All victims, except for a “last blunt force trauma and burns” by the crash. The plane was on the way to Las Vegas.


The researchers said Pedroza was sitting in the front of the plane with a certified airline transport pilot, Erik Valente, 26. It was not immediately known who was driving the plane at the time of the crash.


6 killed in fiery plane crash on golf course

The plane’s wings were rocking during and shortly after take-off,” the researchers said. The aircraft took a left-bank turn, and the incline increased before the aircraft began to lose altitude, they added.

“On the wings became almost vertical, and the view from the plane was lost behind a berm,” the researchers said. “Seconds later, the camera caught a fireball when the plane impacted terrain.”


Pedroza referred to himself as an “avid traveler” and posted pictures of his whereabouts on the social media. It was also not immediately clear how much cocaine was found in his system and the extent to which narcotic drugs could have contributed to the incident.

Mariah Sun Coogan, 23, was one of six people authorities said died in the plane crash.


The researchers have not said what the cause of the plane crash, but it turned out the plane was loaded with a large amount of cargo and passengers.

The crash also left Anand Anil Patel, 28, Helena, Lagos, 22, Iris Carolina Rodriguez Garcia, 23, and Mariah Sun Coogan, 23, dead. Coogan, an Instagram model, had more than 27,000 followers at the time of her death.

Fox News’ Elizabeth Zwirz and Travis Fedschun contributed to this report.

Kathleen Joyce is a breaking/trending news producer for You can follow her via @Kathleen_Joyce8 on Twitter.

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