Carson City restaurateur identified as pilot in Yorba Linda crash

Tony Pastini

Tony Pastini

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Ruhenstroth resident and Carson City restaurateur Antonio Pastini, 75, of Gardnerville, has been identified as the pilot in a crash that occurred in Yorba Linda, Calif.

Pastini, who was killed along with four people when a small plane crashed in a Southern California neighborhood was not a retired Chicago police officer, as initially identified, authorities said Tuesday.

The Chicago Police Department has no record of Pastini, 75, ever working in the city, department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in an email. Pastini had been identified Monday as a retired Chicago officer residing in Gardnerville by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

Coroner’s investigators recovered credentials from Pastini after the crash that appeared to identify him as a retired Chicago officer, sheriff’s spokeswoman Carrie Braun said.

Discussions with the Chicago department later determined the credentials were not legitimate, Braun said.

The identification of the pilot as Antonio Pastini was not in question.

Pastini’s 414A Cessna took off from Fullerton Municipal Airport in Orange County 1:35 p.m. Sunday.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, radar showed he climbed to 7,800 feet before the aircraft rapidly descended.

Witnesses said the aircraft was breaking up on the way down.

“The witnesses I’ve spoken with say that they saw the airplane coming out of the clouds — it was still in one piece — and then they saw the tail breaking off and then the wing breaking off and then something like smoke before the airplane impacted the ground,” said Maja Smith, an investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board.

It hit a house containing four people. The home caught fire, killing everyone in the home and Pastini.

The twin-engine aircraft was built in 1981 and the registration was pending.

Pastini was a licensed commercial pilot with a multi-engine landing rating, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

He has lived in Ruhenstroth for nine years.

Pastini was the owner of Sushi & Teri Kim Lee’s Japanese Restaurant in Carson City. The original restaurant opened in 1991 and moved in 2008.

The Gardnerville restaurant opened in 2009. It closed in 2014.


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