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Remains of Medical Helicopter Crash Victim Returned Home to Calif.

The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, Calif.

The remains of helicopter pilot Jennifer Topper were returned to Santa Rosa on Thursday evening, delivered safely by her mother under ceremonial escort through the North Bay Area.

Topper, 34, a former Navy rescue swimmer and emergency medical pilot, was killed in a helicopter crash last month while flying through frigid, snowy weather to pick up a patient in southeast Ohio. Two flight nurses also died in the Jan. 29 incident.

The Piner High School graduate had moved to the Midwest with her pilot boyfriend to fly for Survival Flight Inc. and lived in Sunbury, Ohio.

Topper's mother, Santa Rosa resident Cherie Rader who has been in Ohio since two days after the crash, flew into San Francisco International Airport with her daughter's remains. There they were met by a USO honor guard and 18 city police and firefighters flanked the gate, said Petaluma firefighter Zach Brown, a relative.

The escort home through Sonoma County came with roadside salutes that included: three sheriff's deputies; Sonoma Life Support ambulance; Windsor, Petaluma, Healdsburg, Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park fire agencies; Cal Fire and Patriot Guard Riders.

A celebration of Topper's life will be held Feb. 23 at 1 p.m. at Sonoma Country Day School, 4400 Day School Place in Santa Rosa.

A public memorial for all three victims was held earlier in Grove City, Ohio, a Columbus suburb.


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