An incident Friday night highlights the effort being made to expand help for mental illness and drug abuse. People acting strange in any situation might have something going on with their brain chemistry that can better be addressed by treatment than incarceration.
In some situations, disruptive behavior can be deadly, such as flying. An American Airlines flight bound for Minneapolis was forced to land at Denver International Airport. By then, the unruly passenger was locked in the bathroom, smoking pot and yelling, “You’re all screwed!” They were too. They were stuck on the ground for over two hours.
Flight 2408 from Phoenix had been in the air an hour when a passenger lit up a joint. Jim Dickey was traveling to a convention and reports, “he punched the seat in front of him and the lady screamed,” Dickey said. “You could tell by the sound that the plane started descending pretty quickly after the flight attendants started to notice.”
As TMZ reports, “The passengers were a little freaked out, trying to figure out what was going on. The buzz in the cabin was that someone in the back said he was telling everyone around him, he was on cocaine. That’s when the guy with dreads in the video ran to the back of the plane into the bathroom and locked the door.”
An American Airlines flight from Phoenix to Minneapolis was forced to make an unscheduled stop in Denver after a male passenger became unruly, punching seats, yelling at other passengers and smoking cigarettes https://t.co/t7K2vOWp0V
— CNN (@CNN) September 22, 2019
Dickey mentioned the pilot informed everyone that the flight was being diverted about 20 minutes after the incident started. That’s when the unruly passenger locked himself in the bathroom. Like 9/11, some of the male passengers were willing to help restrain him. “The guy right behind me switched seats to the aisle in case things went awry,” Dickey said.
The plane landed safely in Denver and the maniac was removed by local police, in hand cuffs and strapped to a stretcher.
“Law enforcement met the flight, and the aircraft re-departed,” said Whitney Zastrow, a spokeswoman for American Airlines. “Thank you to our crew members for taking care of our customers during this situation.” They don’t mention that the first 13 rows had to get off the plane before they could retrieve their target. After that, passengers were forced to endure a two hour delay before they were back in the air.
“Denver Police tell TMZ that the man in this video was NOT arrested and did not end up being booked for any charges as a result of the disturbance. He was merely treated at the hospital.”
Once the flight started back up again, Dickey mentioned it was the quietest flight he’d ever been on. “When we got back on the plane in Denver and continued on to Minneapolis, I don’t think anybody said a word,” he said.
That happens when your life is threatened.
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