A man fights with passengers and lunges for the exit doors during a flight from Seattle to Beijing. The flight attendant broke a wine bottle over his head which didn’t faze him.
23-year old Joseph Daniel Hudek IV was arrested on Thursday night because he caused a disturbance that forced the aircraft to return to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Standing in court in a beige colored jumpsuit and with a scrape and bruise under his right eye, Hudek refused to speak during the hearing. Robert Flennaugh II, his attorney refused to comment on the case.
Hudek is expected to remain in custody until his detention hearing on July 13. He is being charged with interfering with a flight crew which could potentially have him serving a 20-year sentence and paying a $250,000 fine.
A flight attendant and passenger had to be taken to a hospital to treat severe injuries caused by the defendant, say authorities. A spokesman for the Port of Seattle, Perry Cooper, says however that the injuries are not life threatening.
FBI special agent Caryn Highley shared in a probable cause statement that Hudek was sitting on the first row of the Boeing 767’s first class area. He merely asked for a single beer before take-off and the attendant served him the beer. He showed no signs of intoxication and he didn’t order anymore drinks.
However, about an hour into the flight when the plane was flying over the Pacific Ocean – Northwest of Vancouver Island, the attendant told authorities that Hudek went to the restroom and exited instantly, asking an attendant a question and heading right back again to the restroom.
After two minutes Hudek came out again and suddenly lunged for the door and tried to open the exit hatch. Attendants and passengers grabbed to pull him off the door and someone notified the cockpit by phone.
Hudek went on to punch one attendant in the face twice and hits at least one passenger in the head with a dessert red wine bottle. The complaint goes on to explain that the struggle continued and an attendant grabbed two wine bottles and hit him over the head with each, breaking at least one of them.
Witnesses go on to say that “Hudek did not seem impacted by the breaking of a full liter red wine bottle over his head, and instead shouted, ‘Do you know who I am?’ or something to that extent.”
Eventually after an attempted headlock by one of the passengers, he was held down long enough to be restrained by zip-ties. He was still intense and so several passengers kept him held down until the plane returned to the airport.
He was supposedly traveling with a “dependent pass” which allow certain relatives of Delta employees to fly on standby and he was seen being rolled in a wheelchair in the terminal after the plane landed.
Dustin Jones one of the passengers went on to tell the press, “He started yelling for help,” Jones said. “And so, he turned the wheelchair over in the middle of the airport, screaming for people to help him, just being belligerent.”
The flight continued and left for their destination to Beijing on Thursday night.