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Fri, Feb 10, 2006

Man Dies After Hanging Himself In Lav On UA Flight

Had Driven Into Car Dealership Last Weekend

Gerald Georgettis, 56, was obviously a troubled man... and his life came to an end Wednesday, on a United Airlines flight from Washington, DC to Los Angeles.

Georgettis achieved notoriety last weekend after he drove his Ford Escape into the Miami-Dade, FL car dealership where he had just purchased the small SUV. He then poured gasoline on the vehicle, and lit a match. The resulting fire caused nearly $1 million in damages to the dealership and the cars parked in its showroom.

Media outlets throughout the country picked up the story. Earlier this week, Georgettis told a local television station he burned the store because he was upset with the deal he'd agreed to for the Escape.

"It was just stupid," he told Miami's NBC-6 Monday.

Sadly, Georgettis -- who was free on $1,500 bond pending trial on charges of arson and felony mischief -- made another ill-advised decision afterwards, and it cost him his life. The man hanged himself Wednesday in the lavatory of a United Airlines flight bound for Los Angeles.

The airliner was diverted to Denver after Georgettis' body was discovered in the lav. On Thursday, the Denver Medical Examiner's Office ruled the death a suicide.

"Right now, everything leads us to believe the male involved did commit suicide," said Denver police detective Virginia Lopez.

United spokesman Jeff Green told reporters the plane landed at the Denver airport Wednesday afternoon because of an unspecified medical emergency involving a passenger. He would not comment further.

Wednesday's diversion was the second time this year a flight has been diverted to Colorado after someone committed suicide on the plane. An American West flight diverted to Colorado Springs on January 6 after a female passenger OD'ed on morphine. Stephanie Marson was found unconscious in her seat.

She had been flying between Cleveland and Phoenix.

FMI: www.united.com

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