A South Carolina aviation foundation is attempting to raise money to fix a historic Vietnam War-era attack helicopter following the incident in which the State Highway Patrol accused a man of crashing into it while driving drunk.
The man behind the wheel was detained for driving under the influence of alcohol, a Highway Patrol community relations officer verified on Twitter. The driver was close to the Columbia Metropolitan Airport after midnight when he mistakenly took an access road and struck the 1967 AH-1F helicopter, which was parked outside of a building on a dead-end street, the officer stated. The man informed the police that he “consumed way too much alcohol” and was attempting to get to the interstate, the Celebrate Freedom Foundation stated.
The foundation states the 53-year-old chopper sustained around $6.6 million worth of damage. Insurance won’t be able to cover the repairs, said Lori Wicker, the director of the organization’s student program.
The aircraft was used to teach science, technology, engineering, and math to the students. It was restored and decoratively painted and had been put out as a Christmas display on December 14 when it was crashed, Wicker stated. The helicopter is among those six that the organization has renovated with the purpose to educate students and the public. Veterans and active-duty soldiers volunteer for the renovations on the donated aircraft.