On March 20, 1997, at 0716 mountain standard time, the pilot of a North American NA-265-40, N123CD, operated by Southwest Jet as a 14 CFR Part 91 business flight, was unable to maintain directional control of the airplane during the landing roll at the Friedman Memorial airport, Hailey, Idaho. The airplane swerved to the left and collided with a snowbank off the side of the runway. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed. The airplane was substantially damaged; both airline transport pilots and their one passenger were not injured. The flight had originated from Kansas City, MO, about two hours and thirty minutes before the accident.

In a written statement, the pilot-in-command reported that the approach for landing was normal. The airplane touched down approximately 1,000 feet down the runway on the centerline. The pilot stated that during the landing roll, the thrust reversers were deployed and the airplane began to slowly veer to the left. The pilot applied right rudder control and right braking action, however, the airplane continued to the left. The pilot applied "hard" right braking action which had no effect. The pilot stated that he re-stowed the thrust reversers and continued to apply right braking action which seemed to have some affect. The speed had decreased to 60 knots at this time and the pilot centered the rudder and tried two times to engage the nosewheel steering. The nosewheel steering would not engage, so the pilot selected standby steering, it did not automatically "fall down" like it should, and the airplane continued to travel off the side of the runway, colliding with a runway marker and subsequently a snowbank. The nose gear collapsed and the airplane came to rest off the west side of the runway.

Inspection of the nose wheel steering system identified a short in the wiring to the command potentiometer, which affected the primary and standby nose wheel steering systems.

The National Transportation Safety Board was not notified of the structural damage to the airplane until March 31, 1997.

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