Porterville, California - Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued the following statement regarding the deaths of Tulare County Sheriff's Department Deputy Scott Ballantyne and pilot James Chavez:
“Anne and I extend our deepest condolences to the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department and the friends and family members of Deputy Ballantyne and pilot Chavez during this difficult time. We are grateful for these men, who made the ultimate sacrifice doing what they did everyday – serving and protecting their community.”
Deputy Ballantyne, 52, of Visalia, and pilot Chavez, 45, of Hanford, were killed yesterday in the crash of a Tulare County Sheriff's Department aircraft along Highway 190 near Lake Success in Porterville. They were assisting a mission to apprehend a suspect prior to the crash.
Deputy Ballantyne was a 27-year veteran of the Tulare County Sheriff's Department. He is survived by his mother and sister.
Pilot Chavez was hired by the Tulare County Sheriff's Department in 2014 and previously served in the California National Guard and Navy Reserve. He is survived by a wife and two children, ages eight and four.
In honor of Deputy Ballantyne and pilot Chavez, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.