Guilty plea from man who led pursuit that resulted in chopper crash

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PHOENIX - The man who led Phoenix police on a high-speed chase that resulted in the crash of two news helicopters has entered a guilty plea to multiple charges related to the pursuit.

Christopher Jermaine Jones led officers in a chase that led to the deadly crash between 3TV and ABC 15’s news choppers that were covering the pursuit over Steele Indian School Park in downtown Phoenix.

The collision on July 27, 2007 claimed the lives of photographer Jim Cox and pilot Scott Bowerbank, as well as those of photographer Rick Krolak and pilot Craig Smith.

Jones pleaded guilty Tuesday to 35 counts of aggravated assault, vehicular theft, unlawful flight, leaving the scene of an accident, endangerment, criminal trespass, and criminal damage. He faces up to 467 years in prison.

"The defendant's plea brings us one step closer to closure in the judicial phase of this tragedy," said County Attorney Rick Romley. "The newsmen whose lives were lost will always be remembered for their sacrifice."

He is not facing charges related to the fatal helicopter crash.

Jones is expected to be sentenced on Sept. 10.