(KUTV) — When Duane Youd crashed a small plane right on the doorstep of his home in Payson early Monday morning, it was another example that domestic violence is not just a private, family problem.
“The ripple effect of domestic violence is enormous, especially in situations like this. It affected a whole neighborhood,” said Jenn Oxborrow, executive director of the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition.
Youd died in the crash. His wife and son were in the house but were not hurt. His neighbor’s house was damaged by the fiery crash.
“He was obviously suicidal. It was a period of time when he’d lost control,” said Oxborrow.
Youd had just been released from jail for domestic violence.
Oxborrow said the 72 hours after a perpetrator is released from jail is a very “dangerous” time.
Hours earlier, between 8 and 9 p.m., Youd was arrested and taken to the Utah County Jail.
Sgt. Spencer Cannon with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office said Youd was arrested for misdemeanor domestic violence after a witness called police saying he was assaulting a woman in American Fork Canyon.
Cannon said officers responded and found Youd and his wife who told a story that matched the story of the witness.
She told officers she and Youd argued all day and went out for a drive and walk to talk things out. That’s when he became violent.
“He was going after her pretty harshly punching her, headbutting her,” said Cannon.
Then, Cannon said the couple got in Youd’s truck. He drove erratically. At one point the victim was in the cab of the truck then moved to the bed of the truck.
After he was booked into jail, Cannon said Youd used a bond to post bail, which is set at $1,940 for misdemeanors.
Soon after, Payson Police escorted him to his house to get some belongings without incident. This is part of the “Keep the Peace” policy. Youd would have signed a no contact order (with the victim) before leaving jail and that’s why he was escorted to his home by police.
Less than three hours later, he stole the plane and crashed in front of his house.
“It’s a very intentional act of terror and violence,” said Oxborrow.
She said while it’s unusual for a domestic violence perpetrator to use an airplane as a weapon, cars are commonly used to harm victims.
Justin Boardman, a recently-retired police officer who spent 15 years on the West Valley City Police force, now trains other officers around the country on conducting domestic violence and sexual assault investigations. He said violence, including domestic violence, seems to be getting more extreme.
Boardman said the most violent criminals often have domestic violence in their histories.
“We take a look at the mass shootings around our country and most of these individuals have domestic violence histories,” he said.
Boardman said he still has nightmares from what he calls his worst case from years ago: a man shot his wife then himself in front of their five children on the street. To cut down on domestic violence, the state needs to put more money into combating it. Forty-two percent of homicides in Utah are domestic violence.
He said it’s not enough to have police respond then separate the victim from the perpetrator.
Oxborrow said there is more effort by state leaders to fund more training and tools to protect victims and stop perpetrators but there is much more to be done.
Currently, more departments are being trained in the lethality assessment protocol which starts with a questionnaire that determines a victim’s likelihood of being killed by the perpetrator. Once that determination is made, victims at highest risk will be connected right away with counselors and people who can help remove them from danger.
She said victims don’t have to go to shelters to get help and stay safe.
Oxborrow would like to see more effort put into containing perpetrators – especially after they’ve been released from jail.
She said some states are already tracking perpetrators with GPS or other systems right after they leave jail to ensure they don’t commit another violent act during a time when they are emotional, angry and volatile.
“There’s a lot of work to be done,” she said.
If you are victim of domestic violence and want to get help or know someone who needs help, call the Utah Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-897-5465.