A United Airlines passenger who unsuccessfully tried to break into a plane’s cockpit before opening an emergency cabin door and jumping off the taxiing aircraft (and breaking his leg in the process) told federal authorities that he had purchased and smoked “a lot” of crystal meth in the days prior to the flight, court documents show.
According to a criminal complaint filed Sunday in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Luis Antonio Victoria Dominguez, 33, even told the woman seated next to him on Flight 5365 from LAX to Salt Lake City that he was going to “jump out” of the plane prior to takeoff.
“I’m serious,” Dominguez allegedly whispered to the female passenger after telling her of his plan and making a break for the front of the aircraft.
Dominguez reached the front of the plane as the aircraft began taxiing and banged on the door multiple times. He then tried “manipulating the locked doorknob while saying something about getting off the aircraft,” one of the flight attendants told authorities.
When he failed to access the flight deck, Dominguez pushed the flight attendant out of his way and turned his attention to the emergency exit door, the court records indicate. He pulled the lever, caused the door to open, and partially deployed the emergency slide, witnesses told federal agents. A male passenger, referred to as “A.G.” in the complaint, grabbed Dominguez by the shirt and tried to pull him back into the aircraft, but Dominguez “twisted himself free” then “fell out of the emergency exit door and onto the tarmac without coming into contact with the partially deployed emergency slide.”
The plane’s captain told federal agents that the incident amounted to a “Level 4 threat,” which he described as “huge—the biggest” threat on the scale. He also said that the emergency slide was pressurized and could have been sucked into the engine.
Multiple witnesses reported that Dominguez, unable to stand after breaking his leg, then tried to crawl down the tarmac away from the plane. He was arrested by officers with the Los Angeles Airport Police Department (LAXPD) and transported to a local hospital so his leg could be treated.
Federal agents went to the hospital the following day to interview Dominguez who was extremely candid, according to the complaint.
Dominguez allegedly told the agents that he travelled from Mexico to L.A. three days prior to Flight 5365, on June 22. He said he planned to travel to Salt Lake City but didn’t have an immediate connecting flight — so he instead went on an alcohol and drug-filled bender.
“He went to an unknown hotel on 7th Street in downtown Los Angeles near a bus station, where he drank several beers and purchased $20 of crystal methamphetamine from an unknown individual,” the complaint stated. “When asked how much crystal methamphetamine he got for the $20, he responded, ‘A lot.’”
The next day, Dominguez said he “still had crystal methamphetamine and continued to smoke on and off throughout the day.” He decided to book a flight to Salt Lake City for June 24, per the complaint.
After smoking more crystal meth, Dominguez said he missed his June 24 flight and wandered the streets until the next day when he boarded Flight 5365.
“He was coming down from all the drugs he had used the last couple of days and immediately started to doze off. He heard the passengers seated behind him laughing and talking about the flight going to a different city than Salt Lake City,” the complaint stated, adding that he then “began to panic.”
Dominguez also allegedly told the agents that his panic attack “gave him the strength to open the door” and jump out of the plane.
He faces one count of Interfering with Flight Crew Members and Attendants, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
Read the full complaint below.
[image via KCAL-TV screengrab via YouTube]
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