A Hotchkiss man was cited into court on suspicion of third-degree assault and disorderly conduct after he allegedly was disruptive on a plane before takeoff at Montrose Regional Airport Saturday, and injured an airline employee who was removing him from the flight.
Kent E. Eddy, a deputy with Delta County Sheriff’s Office, was reportedly intoxicated as he attempted to board a flight. Eddy first came to the wrong plane and was escorted to his correct flight, Montrose County Sheriff Gene Lillard said.
Once on board, Eddy ordered a beverage and kept removing his face mask to drink it, Lillard’s report said. He was told three times to keep his mask on and when he did not comply, the airline implemented a “three-strikes” rule and nixed him from the flight, Lillard said.
Eddy was allegedly belligerent and cursed out the flight attendant. As she was escorting him from the aircraft through a security door and opened it, Eddy allegedly grabbed it, pulled on it and it struck her, causing the woman injury; Lillard said the woman felt it had been intentional.
Dispatchers received a call about the incident at 4:46 p.m. and were told an intoxicated man had been removed from the plane, as well as struck a flight attendant with a door.
The Transportation Security Administration met with deputies when they arrived and directed them to a man sitting in a vehicle in the airport parking lot.
Lillard said it appeared to the deputies that the man, allegedly Eddy, had been drinking, because they could smell alcohol on him. As they spoke with him, Eddy repeatedly told MCSO deputies that he was a deputy, too and a veteran, who had served his country, Lillard said.
The Delta County Sheriff’s Office said Eddy was hired in 2019. He is a certified deputy who works as a process server. Delta County Sheriff Mark Taylor declined further comment.
“The facts are the facts,” Lillard said. “It so happens it was one of their employees. The Delta Sheriff’s Office will handle it accordingly, I’m sure.”
The MCSO has jurisdiction over incidents such as Saturday’s that occur within the confines of the county-operated Montrose Regional Airport. Incidents that occur in-flight are typically handled by the FBI, which was notified of Saturday’s events, Lillard said.
The MCSO does not receive many calls to the airport for disorderly passengers, he also said.
“They are probably far and few between, but this day and age, when we do get them, they do seem to make headlines because of the general feeling of people right now,” he said, speaking of incidents in general.
“Their fuses are a little short and sometimes, if they’re under the influence, they have a tendency to shoot their mouths off and do things they should not do.”