NTSB: Jupiter businessman Adam Reeves was taking medication at time of fatal helicopter crash

JUPITER, Fla. - Helicopter pilot and Jupiter businessman Adam Reeves was on three medications, two of which the Federal Aviation Administration says should not be used while flying, when the chopper he was flying crashed near northern Georgia's Blood Mountain last year, according to a National Transportation Safety Board report released this week.

Investigators, however, could not determine whether the medications posed a safety hazard and helped cause the crash that killed Reeves and his passenger, 37-year-old Shelley Zapototsky, of West Palm Beach, last summer, the report said.

Reeves, 45, left the northern Palm Beach County airport on Aug. 2 in his 2006 Robinson R44 helicopter with Zapototsky.

Reeves, whose family could not be reached for comment Tuesday, ran health care and realty companies. He and Zapototsky, a registered nurse who worked with Reeves, never made it to their intended destination of the Brasstown Valley Resort and Spa in Young Harris, Ga.

Instead, the helicopter's wreckage was found spread across the mountainous terrain. The bodies of Reeves and Zapototsky were found Aug. 6, 2010.

In the NTSB report released Monday, investigators said the FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory found Reeves' tissue specimens tested positive for Bupropion, Diphenhydramine and Phentermine.

According to the report, the FAA determined that Bupropion, an antidepressant, and Phentermine, an appetite suppressant, are not "appropriate for use while flying."

But Palm Beach County Chief Medical Examiner Michael Bell said Bupropion and Phentermine don't have side effects that would interfere with flying. Bell said the Diphenhydramine found in Reeves' system is an allergy medication, which can cause drowsiness.

In a 2009 application for an airman medical certificate, Reeves said he didn't use any medication and he did not experience depression, anxiety, or have a mental disorder.

The helicopter slammed into trees in a heavily wooded area about 3,100 feet above sea level, and below Blood Mountain's 4,436 foot peak.

The main fuselage came to rest against a tree and also showed signs of a fire. All the instruments either were destroyed or could provide no useful information, the report said.

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Eliot Kleinberg contributed to this story.

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