State probes Awesome Bill's flying of chopper - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

State probes Awesome Bill's flying of chopper

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July 10, 2004

Albany - Two Georgia State Patrol troopers, from Albany, are at the center of an internal investigation for allowing a NASCAR driver to fly a state helicopter.

Driver Bill Elliott was invited to fly a military-style helicopter June 28, 2004 during a marijuana eradication mission in North Georgia. Cpl. Kevin Coalson was the pilot on the mission and Lt. Eddie Williams, the second in command of the aviation unit, was on board. Both Coalson and Williams are from Albany.

Elliott, who is a licensed pilot, had just dropped off a airplane at the airport in Dawsonville, and the troopers offered to give him a ride back to Blairsville. During the ride, the troopers allowed Elliott to take control of the helicopter.

On Friday, the head of the Georgia State Patrol ordered an investigation. The GSP was critized last year for flying Governor Perdue to political events and letting him take the controls of the aircraft.

Posted at 11:45PM by kathryn.murchison@walb.com