Friends, family mourn members of news crew killed helicopter crash

Friends, family mourn members of news crew killed helicopter crash
PHOENIX (AP) - Family, friends and seasoned reporters gathered for a memorial service Tuesday, remembering the dedication and passion of two popular television journalists who were killed when their news helicopter crashed.

KVTK-TV pilot Scott Bowerbank, 42, and photographer Jim Cox, 37, died in the collision with a competing station's helicopter as they reported on a police chase. The crash destroyed both choppers, sprayed a Phoenix park with debris and also killed the two journalists reporting from the KNXV-TV helicopter.

About 900 people attended the service at the First United Methodist Church, and about 100 members of the public watched proceedings on two oversize screens a block away.

One by one, friends and family members stood in front of a stage covered by flowers and told stories about Bowerbank and Cox. They recalled celebrities that Bowerbank had flown, including Mick Jagger and "Dr. Phil" McGraw.

Then there was the Fourth of July fire safety story this year, when Cox broke into hysterics after an explosion set off by firefighters jettisoned a piece of watermelon into his camera.

Both Cox and Bowerbank died doing what they loved to do: telling viewers compelling stories, friends and relatives said. And they both lived their lives on the edge, putting their all into whatever they did, friends said.

As for Cox, "He always told me, if you're going to do something, give it 100 percent," said Claudia Rivero, a co-worker. "You could see his strength, his dedication, to everything he did."

Services for the KNXV crew members killed in the crash, Craig Smith and Rick Krolak, are set for Thursday and Saturday, respectively.

Also Tuesday, the man accused of leading police on the chase that the newsmen were covering was charged with unlawful flight, two counts of assaulting a police officer and two counts of auto theft.

But Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas said he hasn't decided whether to bring charges against Christopher Jermaine Jones, 23, in the journalists' deaths.

It was still unclear Tuesday whether Jones had a lawyer.