Friday, December 23, 2016

Police: Orlando International Airport passenger ditches pants, steals airport tug, drives across tarmac

Richard Hogh
(Orange County Jail / Courtesy photo)


A Canadian passenger was arrested Friday morning after he got onto the tarmac at Orlando International Airport, hopped aboard a luggage tug vehicle and then drove away, authorities report.

No one was injured, officials report.

The man, 27-year-old Richard Hogh, was preparing to board a United Airlines flight to Chicago then transfer to Canada when the incident began, according to the Orlando Police Department.

Hogh boarded the plane and sat in a first-class seat that was not his. When airline staff asked him to go to his assigned spot, he said "that he was a pilot and wanted to sit in the pilot jump seat," Orlando police wrote in his arrest affidavit.

He was taken off the plane.

"The United Airlines staff felt that he was behaving erratically," said airport spokeswoman Carolyn Fennell. "They denied him boarding."

Hogh left his carry-on luggage unattended by the gate and followed an employee with a cleaning cart into a service elevator, records show.

The employee saw that he did not have a security badge and told him to get off the elevator. The elevator doors opened on the ground floor, so Hogh got out, took off his pants, and walked away, records show.

The ground floor has access to the ramp area. Police say Hogh climbed into the passenger's seat of a luggage tug by gate 41 and told the driver "he had a flight to catch."

The frightened driver got off the tug, so Hogh got in the driver's seat, and started driving south on a taxiway. He then turned onto Perimeter Road near the Centerfield Fire Station, more than 2,000 feet away from the terminal.

A firefighter ran alongside the tug until he managed to jump on to the passenger seat, subdue Hogh and detain him. Orlando police officers then took him into custody.

Fennell said he never drove on any of the airport's runways, and the incident did not cause any flight delays. It did cause a "ground hold" for jetliners in the immediate area.

Fennell said Hogh had earlier gone through an airport security checkpoint without incident.

Story and comments:   http://www.orlandosentinel.com

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