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 May 29th, 2011  
St. Lucie County Sheriff's helicopter crashes Sunday afternoon, pilot not seriously hurt, according to Sheriff Mascara
A St. Lucie County Sheriff's helicopter pilot was hospitalized this afternoon after his Sheriff's Office helicopter crashed near I-95 in the county, according to Sheriff Ken J. Mascara.

"Pilot Shawn E. Sullivan, 44, was the only one aboard," Sheriff Mascara said. "He was taken by fire rescue helicopter to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center and Heart Institute following the 12:48 p.m. crash. Our latest information is that Deputy Sullivan's injuries are not serious."

Deputy Sullivan remained at the hospital for observation this afternoon.

The Florida Highway Patrol was called to a motor vehicle accident at 12:13 this afternoon in the northbound lanes of I-95 just north of Okeechobee Road (State Road 70) at the 129 mile marker in St. Lucie County, Sheriff Mascara said. The highway patrol requested the assistance of the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office's helicopter pilot to look for anyone who might have been ejected in the traffic accident.

At 12:48 p.m., Air-3, the Sheriff's helicopter that reported to the scene, piloted by Deputy Shawn E. Sullivan, experienced a spin and crashed beside the northern edge of the northbound on-ramp to I-95 at State Road 70, Sheriff Mascara said.

An air rescue helicopter that had reported to the accident scene flew Deputy Sullivan to the hospital.

The St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office has notified two federal agencies: the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

Deputy Sullivan has been a member of the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office for one year.

The helicopter that crashed is a Bell OH-58, a U.S. Army surplus helicopter that the Sheriff's Office acquired after paying a small processing fee to the U.S. Army. * * *

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