I can no longer remain silent on this matter.
Dean Sawyer was my supervisor at the Newport Police Department from 1995-1998. Sawyer, a sergeant at that time, was my backup on a volatile call. Sawyer left me inside the house with a male subject while he went out to the patrol car to make an unrelated phone call. Inside the house, the situation escalated as the male subject began to posture angrily at me and threaten my safety. I called for Sawyer several times over the radio for help to no response. I was on the verge of getting on the radio to ask for backup.
When I walked outside and told Sawyer that I had called him several times on the radio, he told me he had the radio volume turned down and did not hear my requests for help.
Now more than two decades later, I’m reading the National Transportation Safety Board summary of Sawyer’s plane crash. I feel anger and indignation over what “his honor” chose to ignore, which led to a horrible tragedy. Sawyer has ruined the life of a lovely human.
Borrowing from the March 11, 2021 Oregonian article, Dean Sawyer, a licensed private pilot, knowingly and intentionally, having no legal right to do so, chose to continue to fly his airplane without having obtained the required two-year interval medical certificate renewal for 13 years, chose to continue to fly his airplane without having obtained his required biannual flight review for six years, and perhaps worst of all is that he both chose to continue flying his airplane without having obtained the required annual power plant and airframe inspection for four years and didn’t take the time to visually inspect the fuel levels of the aircraft prior to departure. Because of this disregard for the rules, Sawyer did, therefore, negligently cause serious physical injuries to Debbie Reasoner.
Many have gone to prison because they negligently caused serious physical injuries with a motor vehicle. But because cars don’t fly, Sawyer gets a 200-day slap-on-the-pinky pilot license suspension and gets to continue being mayor. Cars might not fly, but in this case, it appears pigs do.
Sawyer told me he suffered “engine failure” and because the beach was crowded with Fourth of July visitors, he couldn’t land on the beach, where every pilot is trained to land in an emergency. Sawyer told me, therefore, had to land high up in the soft sand of the undulating dunes. But after reading the official summary, it is my opinion he wasn’t looking out for the safety of others. It would seem to me he was trying to save his bacon by continuing to try to make it to the airport. Shameful.
Pilots are on an honor system. It’s up to the pilot to obey the rules. In a recent letter to the editor, Sawyer made a feeble attempt to “take responsibility.” Two years later? There was something about “on the advice of my attorney” and a bunch of other politician dribble, but that letter was anything but an apology. He is going to pray for Reasoner? Is that supposed to keep her from suffering chronic pain and keep her from losing her house? Sawyer wrote that if you know him, you know he means no ill will toward anyone. But what Sawyer is apparently abjectly incapable of is taking itemized responsibility for everything he did to bring about the suffering of Reasoner.
When gathering petitions, people say to me, “Yeah, but he’s doing a good job as mayor.” This is the same thing as saying someone is a great teacher while knowing they abuse their spouse or children.
After knowing what you now know and you continue to support Sawyer as mayor, you’ve become another passenger in a dangerous flight. Or as Rabbi Abraham Heschel would put it, “you live in a fool’s paradise, a wise man’s hell.”
Please go to YouTube and watch: “Emergency Landing: Beach or Breakers?” presented by AvWeb host Paul Bertorelli, who talks about the danger to others when landing on a beach. The last example in the video is about the crash of none other than Dean Sawyer and what led up to it. (Hint: it has to do with the arrogance of complacency.)
Dean, I’m asking you to do the right thing: please resign.
Jacob Accurso is a resident of Siletz.