Pilot agrees to pay $20K to Glendale for damages, expenses in 2012 plane crash

A man who crashed a Cessna plane into a Glendale neighborhood in 2012 has agreed to pay the city $20,000, according to a city announcement this week.

The City Council agreed during a closed-door meeting on Tuesday to accept the payment as a settlement for a lawsuit it filed in January against the pilot, James Roth. Originally, the city had asked the court to award it $91,800.

Reached by phone on Thursday, Roth declined to comment.

Glendale sued Roth for property damage to a tree and power line he downed during the crash as well as the cost of fire and police response to the incident, according to court records. In a court filing, Roth denied he was responsible for the damages and public-safety costs.

Roth attempted to make an emergency landing around 9:10 p.m. on May 21, 2012, after he experienced a severe engine surge during his flight from Phoenix, Ariz. to Van Nuys, Calif., according to a preliminary report issued by the National Transportation Safety Board, the federal agency that investigates transportation accidents.

The 57-year-old Thousand Oaks resident tried to land the Cessna plane on a quiet Glendale street, but he did not see a power pole on the northwest corner of Cleveland and Glenwood roads until it was too late, according to the report.

His plane hit the pole, an oak tree and a vehicle, finally landing upside down in the frontyard of a nearby home.

The National Transportation Safety Board has yet to release a final report detailing the cause of the accident.

Roth is expected to pay the money out of his own pocket, said City Atty. Mike Garcia. Issues with his insurance coverage prompted city officials to wait more than a year and a half to file the lawsuit.

They first tried to work with Roth's insurance company, but it would not foot the damages bill because of a technical issue with the coverage.


Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine.


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