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  • Writer's pictureShelby Higgenbottom

Pilot Priest Who Sprayed Town With 'Holy Water' Arrested, Jailed.

Fr. Petrie photographed coming around for a second pass over the town.

BY Shelby Higgenbottom

Last week, Fakahatchee stood mouths open in terror as an unfamiliar crop duster flew over main street and began spraying. Panic ensued. Citizens desperately tried to cover their mouths. Older people were shoved out of the way. Children were crying and left behind by parents desperate to save themselves. One death, as a result of the chaos, was reported.

But apparently we had nothing to worry about (outside of the person who died).

It was all a concoction of Father Michael Petrie, the resident pastor at Saint Jerome's Catholic Church. Fr. Petrie had filled the crop-duster's tank with water, blessed it and then hijacked the small single engine crop duster taking to the air.

Planes at the Fakahatchee Regional Airport

"It wasn't hard to get the plane," Father Michael Petrie told me. "You just have to know where to look and the airport is like the mother-lode. If you don't look at the airport you could go years without finding one. "I believe the Lord guided me with his gentle hands in my search."

"I believe the Lord guided me with his gentle hands in my search."

​We reached out to Mayor Vaminos for a statement but he laughed for a full five minutes before asking, "That's what you're worried about?" The mayor, of course, has been embroiled in calls for a recall election. With petitions reaching the requisite amount of signatures last week.

Sheriff Bud Nichols has stated Father Petrie will be charged but couldn't say when. "I will say, the father seems to be enjoying jail and has taken to it very well. "Outside of some random blessings, Father Petrie has been a model prisoner sitting on his bunk and reading his bible most of the day. He's also recently won the jailhouse ping pong tournament which blew the odds and resulted in an informer being 'shivved' in the shower."

Citizen's reactions in the wake have been mixed with some saying the priest actually helped them out citing things like 'a free car wash' and 'watering the plants.'

A local resident looks to the skies after being misted by Petrie.

Others have reacted more judgmentally, demanding officials pass special religious based legislation to stop a similar experience from happening in the future. "What if there's a rabbi slasher who comes for our foreskin?" said one citizen who wanted to remain anonymous. "What if Mormons bring a bunch of goods to my house and force me to store it in preparation for something terrible? I just don't have the space."

Richard Baysbahn has stated that outside of this particular case the current laws seem to be working and there's no plan to change them at this time. "We'll take a look at if we need to craft additional legislation in the future but everything currently suggest this case is an outlier."

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