SALT LAKE CITY — A Florida man who prosecutors say forced a Delta flight to make an unscheduled landing in Salt Lake City because he was being unruly, now faces a federal criminal charge.
Aaron Justin Hanson, 37, of St. Augustine, Florida, was charged in U.S. District Court Wednesday with interference with a flight crew.
A Delta Airlines flight from San Francisco to Atlanta made an emergency landing in Salt Lake City about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday. Witnesses said Hanson was "being loud, disruptive, yelling obscenities and not following flight attendants' orders," the charges state.
One passenger told investigators that Hanson "started off being loud as the flight took off. He then fell asleep. When he awoke he was belligerent to the passenger next to him," according to the charges.
Hanson attempted to use the bathroom while the plane was experience turbulence, and "was very sloppy and falling exiting his seat into the aisle," the indictment states.
While moving down the aisle, Hanson allegedly hit a woman in the face.
That woman told police she was in her seat watching a movie when "all of a sudden he fell and smacked her in the face," according to the charges. A witness said he "hit her pretty hard."
One passenger told investigators that Hanson appeared to be "very drunk and high" and that other passengers could "easily smell it," the charges allege. Another noted that Hanson "could barely stand."
A flight attendant then saw Hanson's pants were "halfway off" and that Hanson stated he had to urinate, according to the charges. The flight attendant "had to hold Hanson's pants up for him as he walked because Hanson would not do it for himself."
While in the bathroom, the flight attendant advised the plane's captain of the situation. In the bathroom, Hanson could allegedly be heard "singing and saying profanities."4 comments on this story
After a cease and desist order was handed to Hanson by the flight attendants, the man became "louder and more belligerent," the charges state.
Two passengers — including an off-duty police officer — were then asked to assist the flight attendants in placing "tuff cuffs" on Hanson and then sit with him for the rest of the flight.
In a police affidavit, officers said Hanson claimed he'd had "two shots and two beers" prior to boarding.
If convicted, Hanson could spend a maximum of up to 10 years in federal prison.