Sounding relaxed and comfortable, Quentin Evars phoned from Spokane International Airport Wednesday evening to say he was flying to Sandpoint to pick up boss Neal Treetman.
“His last words to me were, ‘I’ll see you in 20 minutes,”’ said Treetman, a Yakima businessman who was scouting Sandpoint property for his development company.
Evars never made it.
Sometime after 6:15 p.m., the pilot crashed a white and blue Cessna 340 into a fog-shrouded Mount Spokane, and died.
Seconds earlier, Evars abruptly cut off a conversation he was having with the Spokane air traffic control tower and disappeared from radar.
He was telling air traffic controllers why he was changing the destination in his flight plan to Sandpoint. He originally expected to pick up Treetman in Spokane and return to Yakima.
“In that discussion, somewhere along the line there was a pause at a natural place and he didn’t come back,” said Dick Meyer, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.
Investigators from the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board searched the crash site Thursday. The FAA will not issue a report on the crash for at least another four months, Meyer said.
A representative at the Spokane County coroner’s office refused to say whether an autopsy will be performed.
The Cessna belonged to Treetman, owner of the Yakima-based Community Development Services Inc.
Evars was the corporate controller for the company and frequently flew the plane. An experienced pilot, he owned a flight company in the mid-‘80s, Treetman said.
Air traffic controllers called the Spokane County Sheriff’s Department at 6:49 p.m. to report a possible downed airplane. About the same time, the sheriff received complaints of “loud booms” from the Greenbluff area.
As two sheriff’s deputies and a Mount Spokane State Park ranger began searching in a four-wheel-drive truck on the west side of the mountain, Treetman called the Spokane airport to report Evars missing.
Treetman then called several other airports. No one had seen Evars, so he called the Spokane County sheriff. Treetman said Evars was alone in the plane.
MedStar, the helicopter from Deaconess and Sacred Heart medical centers, briefly combed the snowy mountain. At about 8:50 p.m., as a bitter wind began to swirl in the 20-degree air, one of the sheriff’s deputies spotted the tail section about 70 yards off Mount Spokane Park Road.
Forty minutes later, they found Evars, who had been thrown from the plane.
Evars lived in Yakima with his wife, Dominique, two sons and one step-son.
“Quent Evars was truly a man among men,” said Treetman, who met Evars in March. “He was a wonderful person with very human qualities.”