Coroner: Concord Plane Thief Had Massive Amounts of Meth in System When He Crashed in Fresno
MercuryNews.com, Feb. 15, 2012
A Tracy man who stole a private airplane from a Concord airport and crashed near Fresno earlier this month had "extraordinary" amounts of methamphetamine in his body when he died, authorities said.
Toxicology tests show that Ray Pirro, 52, had a methamphetamine concentration of 2,500 nanograms per milliliter of blood, according to Dr. David Hadden, the Fresno County coroner. A typical level for a regular user of the drug would be between 100 and 300 nanograms, he said.
"This shows chronic, long-term use," Hadden said. "He was extraordinarily tolerant."
Authorities say sometime during the weekend of Feb. 5, Pirro trespassed onto Buchanan Field Airport grounds and hot-wired a Cessna belonging to a Walnut Creek man. The plane crashed into power lines and a canal west of Fresno the afternoon of Feb. 5.
Pirro did not have a pilot's license when he took the plane. Hadden said the amount of drugs in Pirro had a clear effect on his actions.
"You can't rely on consistent behavior at that point," he said.
No one else was injured in the plane crash.