Pinal County Sheriff's Office Blasts ABC 15 for Making Up a Helicopter Crash

The Pinal County Sheriff's Office is pissed off at the news crew at ABC 15.

For the second time in a matter of weeks, the Sheriff's Office has issued a public scolding of ABC 15's news-gathering techniques, which this time includes a story about a helicopter crash that didn't happen.

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Recall that a few weeks ago, ABC 15 ran a report of a man getting a lifetime ban from Walmart for "price matching."

The PCSO's media unit, namely spokesman Tim Gaffney, released a scathing statement essentially declaring the story a hoax and blasting ABC 15 for not waiting for the report from the Sheriff's Office, which described that the man had threatened Walmart employees with violence on several occasions.

However, ABC 15's story of a ban from Walmart for price-matching already had gone viral.

This time around, the PCSO is blasting ABC 15 for a story about two helicopters colliding in Pinal County, which didn't quite happen. Somehow, a one-car crash turned into a story about a helicopter collision, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The relevant parts of the statement from the PCSO:

On Wednesday, January 1st, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. the Pinal County Sheriff's Office received several 911 calls related to a single vehicle rollover accident at Fulcar Road and Hidden Valley Road. Four people were in the vehicle at the time of the crash and one was ejected. Medical personnel called for three separate air ambulances to take the injured to local hospitals . . .

In a rush to be first to report the story of a single vehicle rollover car accident and instead of providing their viewers accurate information they reported two helicopters had collided and three victims were taken to the hospital.

PCSO dispatch and others in our office began receiving calls from citizens and media outlets locally and nationally regarding the ABC15 News story. Other media outlets were very critical of ABC15 News for rushing to be first with the story and being inaccurate in its reporting.

The Pinal County Sheriff's Office wants to again recognize and appreciate other members of the media who responsibly report the news by verifying important information before they report it.

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.