DC man becomes unruly on flight, causes emergency landing: police

A flight from Reagan National to Los Angeles had to make an emergency landing in Oklahoma City after police say a D.C. man became unruly, leading the flight to get diverted.

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Police have not released any official information on why the incident took place. However, FOX 5 spoke with a woman who was on the flight who says she believes flight attendants told Ariel Pennington, 35, they wouldn't serve him any more alcohol, causing him to become agitated.

The initial report to Oklahoma City was that a flight attendant had been assaulted. FOX 5 has also learned that two air marshals were on the flight. TSA says one of them was assaulted as well.

READ MORE: Nearly 1 in 5 flight attendants saw an unruly passenger this year

Oklahoma City Police were waiting for Pennington when the flight landed there. They charged him with misdemeanor public drunkenness and disorderly conduct for his actions on the ground.

"What raises the red flag for us [is] when the plane is going to divert and make an unscheduled stop and emergency landing because a situation on the aircraft has gotten so out of control that they can no longer handle it, it’s no longer safe to fly the plane to its destination, so obviously, that’s going to get our attention when that happens," says Oklahoma City Sgt. Gary Knight.

Any charges for what happened while the plane was in the air would be federal. The FBI only said they were investigating and have not released information about what exact charges would come.


The DOJ said just a few weeks ago that they wanted U.S. Attorney's Offices to prioritize unruly passenger cases.