This is ridiculously disturbing on so many levels…
United passenger attacks seatmate
Wednesday morning’s United Airlines flight from Newark to Miami, UA728, diverted to Charleston due to one passenger’s awful behavior. 45-year-old John Yurkovich is the man behind the attack on several other passengers. WCSC reports on the content of the police reports about the incident:
- Yurkovich got up to use the bathroom and returned a short while later, but appeared to be agitated; at that point he became “restless” and “bounced around his seat”
- Yurkovich then asked for some water from a flight attendant, and then retrieved pills from the overhead bin
- Yurkovich then sat back down and began to “scream and thrash around”
- Yurkovich’s seatmate held his arm up to protect himself, but ended up being struck with a closed fist on the side of his face, causing his glasses to break, and he also suffered a laceration to his ear, as the man tried to bite it off
- Other passengers intervened to try and restrain the man — a second victim was struck by Yurkovich, and that may have caused a broken nose; a third victim was punched in the head as well
- At this point other passengers helped to restrain Yurkovich, and a physician even administered a shot of Benadryl in the man’s butt to help sedate him
- When police officers boarded the plane in Charleston, they found Yurkovich face down on the floor of the aircraft being restrained with zip ties and belts — he had his hands behind his back, and his face was covered by a shirt.
Passenger charged with… drug possession
Yurkovich has been arrested and charged, but not for his assault on other passengers. Rather he was charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Police found 1.5 grams of a white crystal substance in his pocket, which tested positive for methamphetamine. Yurkovich disputed the meth charge:
“It’s not what they say it is. It’s a cat tranquilizer actually. It’s not what they’re saying it is.”
So yeah, he’s claiming he was carrying… cat tranquilizer. Yesterday afternoon bond was set at $50,000.
We hear of people misbehaving on airplanes all the time, but this is on a completely different level. It seems that this passenger completely lost it, and out of nowhere started attacking his seatmate and then others.
It sounds like passengers worked together well to restrain the guy, until the plane could be diverted to Charleston. I guess it’s not surprising that there were drugs involved, though I’m not sure why those are the only charges he’s facing as of now.
I’m guessing the FAA will be looking at fining and/or jailing this guy in a significant way.
(Tip of the hat to Live and Let’s Fly)