The pilot who was killed in the helicopter crash was a retired Glendale police officer. The Glendale Police Department has confirmed retired Officer Jeff Steele was the pilot killed in the helicopter crash near Benson late Wednesday night.  Glendale Police Chief Debora Black says Steele retired in 2011 after “25

distinguished years of service.”  The Cochise County Sheriff’s Office said a mechanic, whose identity has not been released, also died in the crash.

The helicopter leasing company lost contact with Cochise Air just after 7 p.m. near Benson, about 150 miles southeast of Phoenix.  The helicopter returned from a trip to Phoenix for routine maintenance. Search crews tracked the pilot’s cellphone and found the crash site within a couple hours just south of Interstate 10 outside Benson. The cause of the crash is unknown and the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

Kris Dugan