Helicopter cutting crew completes trail task


Injured pilot in stable condition


Rotor Blade LLC completed its part of cutting trees and brush along a 16.1 mile bicycle path extension project on Thursday.

The South Carolina-based company sent one of its helicopters from a West Virginia project nine days after Leo Boucher, 50, of Manchester, N.H., crashed along Township Road 188 south of Township Road 190.

Mr. Boucher remains at Grant Medical Center in stable condition. He is no longer in the hospital’s intensive care unit.

His Hughes 500 vehicle experienced engine failure, according to troopers of the Marysville Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, while flying about 100 feet off the ground on July 29.

Witnesses reported the helicopter wobbled, but did not strike anything prior to crashing.

Rotor Blade was hired by project contractor LeVan’s Excavating Co. to help clear trees for the Simon Kenton Bicycle Path along an abandoned stretch of rail line. It was necessary to clear the trees and brush so that a crushed stone path could be laid an appropriate distance from an active rail line.

Bellefontaine Mayor Adam Brannon said LeVan’s has already started preparing the bed for the path.

The crews are working from Urbana northward and will use the first few miles to test out the stone laying machinery and processes. 

Overall, the project is estimated to cost $800,000. Bellefontaine has no money in the project; it is simply acting as the fiscal agent.

Funding was provided by a $500,000 Ohio Department of Natural Resources Rails-to-Trails grant and $300,000 in donations raised by the Simon Kenton Pathfinders.

LeVan’s contract is nearly $594,000 and it is expected to be completed by this fall.

Once done, the extension will connect with a series of bicycle trails that run south to Cincinnati.