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HomeNewsLocal newsPassenger Turbulence on Departing Plane Leads to Airport Arrest

Passenger Turbulence on Departing Plane Leads to Airport Arrest

Prior to takeoff of a Delta Airlines flight, an unruly passenger crashed while being ejected by police. (Source file photo)

An ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has led to increasing reports of bad behavior on U.S. airlines. In a recent incident on St. Thomas, police say one unruly passenger crashed before the plane he boarded took off. Repeatedly.

According to court documents, the passenger was taken off of Delta Airlines Flight 1735 by authorities after a flight attendant said he was too drunk to fly. Court documents also said the passenger did not go willingly.

“Upon arrival to the aircraft, contact was made with Nelson Howard, who is Delta Airlines station manager at (Cyril E. King Airport). Mr. Howard told the undersigned that a passenger aboard the aircraft, later identified as Terry Patrick Dor, was intoxicated and needed to be removed from the plane,” said Officer Abraham Connors.

In a probable cause fact sheet about the Feb. 16 incident, Dor began walking towards the exit door as ordered by Connors, then braced his hands against two aisle seats mid-cabin and pushed back against his escort. Resistance to a forward nudge grew; Dor grabbed the seats harder and raised himself off the floor, then fell forward into the aisle.

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The officer said he helped Dor up, and the march towards the exit resumed. Once outside, on the rolling stairway used to disembark, Connor said he slid his arm under Dor’s to help him descend.

That didn’t work, either. “Mr. Dor began to stagger and lose his footing, subsequently causing him to fall on the stairwell,” Connors said.

Again, the passenger was helped to stand up. That’s when the shouting began.

“God will come for you! You will have to answer to God. You walk me like a slave,” Dor said. Along with the outburst came a strong smell of alcohol on the passenger’s breath, the officer said.

On the way downstairs, a camera being held by Dor’s companion was allegedly knocked off and shattered on the ground.

Once on the tarmac, the police action proceeded indoors to the King Airport Air Operations Center. Attempts to handcuff the extracted passenger stalled as police said Dor threw himself to the floor and said he would not move.

“Mr. Dor dropped to his knees and placed his left arm in the air with a closed fist,” Connors said. A Port Authority officer arrived and tried to assist.

After repeating orders to stop resisting, the situation escalated. The passenger flipped over on the ground, covering his hands. One officer drew a taser and pointed it at Dor. Connor told him he was under arrest.

Placed in a police car for a ride to Roy L. Schneider Hospital, the arresting officer said the defendant began shouting, kicking the door and the ceiling, and banging his head against the metal grate protecting the driver.

After being tested for Covid-19 and getting a negative result, the unruly airline passenger was transported to the Criminal Justice Complex and placed on $1,000 bail.

Dor appeared at a hearing Friday before Superior Court Magistrate Paula Norkadis. Norkadis found probable cause to justify charges of resisting arrest and disobeying a lawful order.

Having made bail, the defendant was free to go after the hearing but was ordered by the magistrate to return March 4 to appear at arraignment.

Port Authority spokesperson Monife Marrero Brathwaite said disruption of commercial flights does not happen in the Virgin Islands as often as national headlines say happen elsewhere, as the Covid-19 pandemic persists.

“It has happened in the past. It’s not a frequent occurrence, but it has happened,” Brathwaite said.

The Federal Aviation Administration says in 2022, so far, there have been 394 reports of unruly passengers on planes; 255 of those reports related to wearing face masks to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus. One hundred twenty-three of those incidents led to investigations. Fifty-nine incidents prompted law enforcement action.

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