Charges likely after plane theft, crash

Records trace history of man with port

PORT TOWNSEND — A former Port Townsend resident who crashed an airplane he allegedly stole Tuesday evening from the Port of Port Townsend’s Jefferson County International Airport was banned in 2017 from entering port property for five years, according to port records.

Richard Rasmusen Jordal, 59, of Richland remained in critical condition Thursday afternoon at Harborview Medical Center, hospital spokesperson Susan Gregg said.

Jordal had been unconscious as of Thursday morning after being airlifted Wednesday from the crash site in Olympic National Park at La Push in Clallam County, said Sgt. Brett Anglin of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

Anglin said Jordal went down late Tuesday night about a mile south of Quillayute Airport.

Anglin said that, by late today, the Sheriff’s Office likely will recommend to the prosecuting attorney’s office that first-degree theft and second-degree burglary charges be filed against Jordal.

Jordal, who had moored his sailboat, the Naiad, at the Port Townsend Boat Haven, was banned from port property on Oct. 3, 2017 after exhibiting “nuisance” behavior on port property and failing to safely navigate the harbor, causing damage to another vessel, according to the Notice of Ejection.

“We trespassed him from the port for various issues,” port Executive Director Eron Berg said Thursday.

According to emails obtained Thursday by Peninsula Daily News, the issues came to a head in late 2017.

“The police had talked to [Jordal] yesterday with a warning that he needed to behave and any more outburst[s] he will be arrested,” port Operations Manager Terry Khile said in a Sept. 28 email to port staff advising them to interact with Jordal in pairs for their own safety.

The investigation into the crash has been turned over to the National Park Service, the FBI and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, La Push Police Chief Bill Lyon said Thursday.

Lyon did not know if the Federal Aviation Administration had arrived at the crash site.

Two Quileute tribal members reported seeing a low-flying aircraft at about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday near where the plane went down, one hearing an explosion shortly after the sighting.

Lyon said a Naval Air Station Whidbey Island helicopter crew spotted the wreckage Wednesday morning and extracted Jordal from a stand of trees in extremely rough and heavily wooded terrain.

The Cessna 150 is a two-seat, single-engine aircraft.

Lyon did not know if Jordal had been ejected or was plucked from the aircraft, which Anglin said was “a total loss.”

Anglin said Jordal had asked an aircraft owner at the airport earlier Tuesday evening if he could rent his aircraft, and the man refused.

Anglin alleged that, later that night, Jordal stole a different plane, the Cessna, worth $30,000.

The aircraft owner who refused Jordal later identified Jordal as the man in a surveillance video stealing the aircraft, turning Jordal from a person of interest in the theft to a suspect.

“He’s not under arrest due to his medical condition at Harborview,” Anglin said.

“He will likely face charges upon his release.”

Anglin said Jordal has a student pilot’s license and had told a witness he wanted to go to Astoria, which did not match his flight path. The Cessna 150 is commonly used for flight training.

“According to the witness, he advised that he was recently let go from his job,” Anglin said.

Jordal has been a sub-tenant of Sundance Aviation at Richland Airport in Benton County, Richland Airport Manager Joe Walker said.

Jordal has taken flight lessons with Sundance.

“He has a plane here,” company owner Clif Dyer said Thursday.

“He has been a customer of ours in the past.”

Dyer would not comment on Jordal’s interactions with his company.

“I believe Rich needs to get some help,” Dyer said.

“That would be about all I will say.”

One port tenant told port officials in a Sept. 27, 2017, email that he had admonished Jordal for throwing around the man’s belongings.

Jordal later said to him, “I’m after you,” and, “You, you better watch yourself. I’m talking to you and only you,” according to the email.

“No crime appeared to have occurred at this time,” according to the Port Townsend Police Department report. “Did not state anything that was a threat or a perceived threat.”

A 40-year-old woman whom Jordal allegedly threw a hammer at said Jordal brought her to Port Townsend from San Diego for work and had been threatening her through other people, according to an Oct. 23, 2017, Port Townsend Police Department incident report.

She said Jordal threw a hammer onto the boat deck near her when she was on the top step of a ladder.

She said she was not reporting an assault, and she felt safe when other people were around. The two were not nor had been in a dating relationship, she said.

According to the same incident report, Khile said Jordal “has been acting strange and aggressive with others in the port.”

Police subsequently met with Jordal after the incident.

“He appears to suffer from some type of mental health issue,” Sgt. Jason Greenspane said in the report.

“He changes to irrelevant topics when trying to converse with him.”

Jordal has several pending criminal charges against him, Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney James Kennedy said Thursday.

They are for second-degree burglary and felony harassment in Franklin County, three charges of felony harassment in Yakima County, first-degree criminal trespass and harassment in Pasco Municipal Court and harassment in Yakima District Court.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].

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