Pilot who stole passenger plane and died has ties to North Dakota

FARGO--The man who stole an airplane and crashed it on a sparsely populated island near Seattle on Friday, Aug. 10, was recruited to play football from Alaska for the Valley City State University Vikings in 2008.

FARGO-The man who stole an airplane and crashed it on a sparsely populated island near Seattle on Friday, Aug. 10, was recruited to play football from Alaska for the Valley City State University Vikings in 2008.

Richard "Beebo" Russell, 29, was remembered by his coaches at Wasilla High School, where he was a football player, wrestler and discus thrower. They told the Anchorage Daily News that they were shocked when he was identified as the man who stole and crashed the empty commuter airline plane.

He later attended Southwestern Oregon Community College.

Authorities don't know why Russell, who is heard on audio recordings telling air traffic controllers that he is "just a broken guy." His family described him as warm, kind and gentle.

The empty commuter plane was stolen from Sea-Tac International Airport. No one else was hurt in the crash, which remains under investigation