caused quite the ruckus on a flight to Beijing last year has been sentenced to two years in prison.n American man who
According to a statement from the FBI, 23-year-old Joseph Daniel Hudek IV of Tampa, Florida was seated in the front row of a Delta plane flying from Seattle to the Chinese capital on July 6th, 2017. Prior to takeoff, he asked a flight attendant for a beer.
While Hudek initially showed no signs of being intoxicated and was not served a second alcoholic beverage, about an hour into the flight, he came out of the bathroom and suddenly lunged for the plane’s exit door, grabbing the handle and trying his hardest to open it.
Two flight attendants attempted to grab Hudek, but he simply pushed them away. They then signaled for backup and passengers rushed over to help.
In the ensuing struggle, Hudek punched one flight attendant twice in the face and hit at least one fellow passenger in the head with a wine bottle. Another flight attendant responded by grabbing two wine bottles and smashing Hudek over the head with each — causing one of the bottles to break.
However, Hudek didn’t appear fazed in the slightest by the blows, instead shouting out something to the effect of “Do you know who I am?”
Eventually, the passengers and attendants were able to restrain Hudek, who remained combative even in zip-tie cuffs. The scuffle had broken out over the Pacific Ocean near Vancouver Island. The plane turned around and Hudek was arrested when it landed back in Seattle.
So, what had caused Hudek to go so berserk?
Well, it turns out that before getting on the plane, Hudek had ingested three 10-gram marijuana candies, believing that they would help him to sleep on the long overseas flight, according to the Seattle Times.
Instead, perhaps in combination with the alcohol, the candies caused him to suffer delusions, hallucinations, and “marijuana-induced psychosis,” Hudek’s defense attorney Robert Flennaugh said, noting that apart from this incident, Hudek had always been a model citizen.
Hudek had pleaded guilty in February to one count of interfering with a flight-crew member and three counts of assault on an aircraft. For endangering the lives of more than 200 fellow passengers and 11 crew members, prosecutors recommended that he be sentenced to five years in prison.
During the sentencing hearing, one of the passengers who was injured by Hudek urged the judge to impose this five-year prison term, stating that because of the blow that Hudek had given him he had suffered permanent damage to one eye and a brain injury which prevents him from reading and writing as he had before.
However, in the end, US District Judge John Coughenour decided to sentence Hudek to only two years in prison after taking into account his youth, his clean criminal record, and the 300 letters of support that the court had received on his behalf.