Eastvale/Norco– An Eastvale woman and a Norco man were among the victims of a Yorba Linda plane crash that occurred in the 19000 block of Crestknoll drive on Sunday, Feb. 3.
On Superbowl Sunday, Stacie Norene Leber, 48, an Eastvale resident, and Donald Paul Elliot, 58, a Norco resident, were visiting relatives Roy Lee Anderson, 85, and his wife, Dahlia Marlies Leber Anderson, 68, at their Yorba Linda home. Reports state they were at the home preparing for their annual Superbowl party. However, all four people were killed when a local plane crashed into the Anderson’s home. Two additional guests were also injured and taken to the hospital. The plane’s pilot, Antonio Pastini, 75, of Nevada, was killed in the crash as well.
The incident occurred after a Cessna 414 plane took off from the Fullerton Municipal Airport at around 1:35 p.m. and flew as high as 7,800 feet, according to a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator. Witnesses reported seeing the plane flying in one piece about 10 minutes from the airport, stating it emerged from a cloud. However, moments later, the plane started falling apart in the sky as the tail of the plane came off, with the wings following. The plane started burning in mid-air before plunging into the Yorba Linda home at around 1:45 p.m., causing the home to catch fire. NTSB reported debris of the crash was scattered among 16 other homes in the neighborhood, where they found the plane’s engine, exhaust pipe, and propeller. Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration and the NTSB helped collect debris from the crash and took all the aircraft parts to a Phoenix facility for examination.
There were also reports stating that the pilot, Pastini, was carrying credentials and retirement papers that identified him as a retired Chicago Police Officer. However, the Chicago Police Department confirmed Pastini was not an officer with their department and that the badge found in the wreckage was reported lost in 1978. It is unclear as to why Pastini was in possession of the badge and credentials.
In addition, local reports reveal that prior to the plane crash, Pastini’s license was suspended twice by federal regulators for flying in dangerous conditions and lying about his credentials. LA Times refers to the Library of Congress records that indicate Pastini lost his license for 4 months after flying in cloudy, icy conditions and then lying to an air traffic controller about having IFR clearance. Three years later, Pastini’s license was suspended again due to his plane being behind on inspections, having a brake that was leaking hydraulic fluid, and carrying expired temporary registration. A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman told the LA Times that Pastini also reported two name changes with the agency after the suspensions. He was first registered as Jordan Albert Isaacson, then changed his name to Jordan Ike Aaron in 1991, and again changed his name to Antonio Peter Pastini in 2008.
After the Yorba Linda crash, one of Pastini’s daughters, Julia Ackley, told local reporters that her father was a retired Chicago Police Officer, an experienced pilot, and a Nevada restaurant owner. She also confirmed that her father changed his name years ago to Antonio Pastini but she didn’t state why. She told local news that her father was an experienced pilot who flew to the Fullerton Airport at least twice a month to visit her and her daughter. On Feb. 3, he was leaving the Fullerton Airport to go to his Nevada home after visiting Ackley in Torrance. She then expressed she was grieving for and with the victims’ families.
The family of Leber, Elliot, and Anderson issued a joint statement regarding their loved ones’ passing: “We are devastated by our loss of our family members who will be greatly missed. Our family bond is tight and each member lost in this tragedy represents more than just one role within our family. We lost parents, grandparents, great-parents, spouses, sisters, brothers, aunts and uncles. The home lost was a beacon for so many family and friends where many celebrations were held. We want to thank our extended family and friends who have provided amazing support, kindness and compassion. It takes a village.”
The statement continued in thanking neighbors and first-responders who put themselves in harm’s way after the crash. The family also thanked various city and county agencies who provided assistance, local city fire departments, Orange County Fire Authority, local law enforcement, Trauma Intervention Programs, Inc., Orange County Sheriff’s Department Coroner Division, UCI Medical Center, the National Transportation Safety Board, Yorba Linda personnel, and surrounding communities.
City officials in Yorba Linda also planned a vigil at Glenn Knoll School on Thursday, Feb. 7, where hundreds attended to mourn the lives lost. A GoFundMe account was setup for the victims’ families and can be accessed here: www.gofundme.com/f/2sswd-family-forever.
As of now, reports indicate that there is no evidence that the crash was intentional. However, this incident is still under investigation and could take as long as one year to complete. Investigators are looking into why the plane broke apart, any environmental impacts, and the pilot’s history and flight experience.