Pilot who killed 16 in fiery Texas balloon crash had been charge - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Pilot who killed 16 in fiery Texas balloon crash had been charged with DUI four times, banned from driving

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The pilot of the hot air balloon who crashed in Texas and killed all 16 people on-board had been arrested and served prison time for drunken driving four times -- but he was still allowed to keep his pilot's license. 

Alfred 'Skip' Nichols, who had also been stripped of his motor license at least twice, 'couldn't drive a car but he could pilot a hot-air balloon,' said an attorney who represented a passenger who sued Nichols in 2013. 

The 49-year-old pilot pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated in St. Louis County in 1990, then twice in 2002 and again in 2010, according to online court records.

Nichols had a long history of customer complaints against his various balloon-ride companies dating back to 1997. His most recent company in Texas received a D+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

Federal investigators said the balloon hit high-tension power lines before crashing into a pasture in Central Texas early Saturday morning.

The balloon fabric was found three quarters of a mile from where the basket hit the ground. 

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