Helicopter Driver Says He's Been Sick - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Helicopter Driver Says He's Been Sick



    A helicopter reported stolen in Fort Worth was found early Friday morning by the Dallas police, but the transporter was nowhere to be found. Until Friday afternoon.

    The missing chopper wasn't found buzzing around in the sky, but rather secured to a trailer in the parking lot of the Century Inn along the 2100 block of Northwest Highway.

    The helicopter, a 2002 Bell 430 worth an estimated $2.5 million, had been sold and packaged for transport by truck on May 19 out of Meacham Airport.  A driver, Shane Florea, was hired to ferry the truck to Mount Pleasant, Pa., and to drop off some parts in Illinois -- only he never showed up at either location.

    With the delivery date passed and the seller having trouble locating Florea, the helicopter was reported stolen June 1.  Fort Worth officers were told to be on the lookout for a 2007 Dodge Ram pickup truck, complete with trailer and helicopter.

    Missing Helicopter Found in Dallas

    [DFW] Missing Helicopter Found in Dallas
    A helicopter worth millions sits in the Dallas Police impound lot. It was reported stolen by a Fort Worth-based company and recovered by Dallas Police at a hotel.
    (Published Friday, June 3, 2011)

    The chopper and trailer were found early Friday morning, but the driver and his Ram pickup were still nowhere to be found.

    That is, until later in the day when he resurfaced.  Florea told NBCDFW that he had been too sick to drive and that he was spending a few days at the motel getting better.

    The motel's owner, Dee Dee Patel, said Florea was a nice guy and that he stays at the motel frequently -- sometimes with different helicopters in tow.

    The Bell 430 helicopter is currently in the possession of the Dallas Police Department.  So far, no charges have been filed against Florea.

    NBCDFW's Amanda Fitzpatrick contributed to this report.