Monday, August 06, 2012

Two men arrested after plane seen flying recklessly before landing in St. Lucie County, Florida

Photographer: St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. — A man accused of operating a single-engine plane while under the influence was arrested early Sunday after landing at the St. Lucie County International Airport, according to affidavits obtained Monday. 

David Wayne King, 36, of New Port Richey, was arrested on a felony reckless operation of an aircraft while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage charge after a St. Lucie County Sheriff's helicopter pilot reported seeing his plane flying very low and trying to land several times.

The incidents happened around 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

A passenger in the plane, 47-year-old John Gibson, of Tarpon Springs, also was arrested. Investigators found 15 alprazolam pills in his pocket and a pipe with possible marijuana residue. He was arrested on charges including possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and drug equipment possession and/or use.

After the single-engine plane landed, King told a Florida Highway Patrol investigator he was a pilot and had flown to the airport in northern St. Lucie County.

The FHP official smelled alcohol on King's breath and reported his eyes were watery and bloodshot. King said the passenger had a pilot's license, though was "to(o) drunk to fly."

After conducting field sobriety exercises, the FHP official arrested King. King declined to take a breath test.

A St. Lucie County Sheriff's deputy arrested Gibson, who initially refused to exit the aircraft.

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