An unruly passenger who assaulted a flight attendant and actually managed to partially open an aircraft door in-flight has been sentenced to only one year in prison and been handed a very small fine. Does this represent a miscarriage of justice or will even a year in prison deter others from drunk and disorderly conduct onboard?
Only One Year In Prison For Assaulting A Flight Attendant And Opening Aircraft Door In-Flight?
30-year-old Kameron C. Stone was sentenced to one year in federal prison on Monday for interfering and assaulting a flight attendant.
The incident occurred on April 16, 2021 on a United Express flight from Washington Dulles (IAD) to Pensacola (PNS):
- Passengers noticed Stone reeked of alcohol and was behaving “obnoxiously”
- That included simulating a gun with his hand and “shooting” other passengers
- Stone also refused to remain seated or keep his seatbelt fastened
- A Flight attendant warned him on several occasions to remain seated
- During final descent, Stone stood up and tried to enter the cockpit
- He then tried to open the aircraft door
- At lower altitudes, the door can be opened, at least partially, and Stone was successful in at least partially opening the door
- That triggered an alarm and forced the pilot to declare an emergency with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
- A flight attendant attempted to stop Stone from opening the door and he responded by pushing her away, then grabbing her shoulders and slamming her into a galley wall, injuring her
- Three passengers, including an off-duty Federal Air Marshal, leaped up and helped the flight attendant restrain Stone until the plane landed
Due to a plea deal with prosecutors, Stone now faces one year in prison followed by three years of supervised release and a fine of $7,500. He may face an additional fine by the FAA.
Is it just me, or is that an incredibly light sentence for what he did? He may spend only weeks in prison and the fine is small enough that I would not even call it a slap on the wrist.
There’s another important issue at play. Out of an abundance of caution, should someone who board a plane smelling like alcohol or who acts in any sort of obnoxious way be quickly booted off a flight. Had Stone been denied boarding, he likely would not be sitting in jail today.
Attacking a flight attendant and opening an aircraft door in-flight merits harsh punishment and I’m not sure Stone will receive it with his relatively light sentence. While aircraft door normally cannot be opened in-flight, when the aircraft is at a low enough altitude, this is possible. Hopefully Stone will use the time in prison to reflect upon his actions and reform his behavior. I also hope the assaulted flight attendant will file a huge lawsuit against him.
(image: GoJet Airlines // H/T: Paddle Your Own Kanoo)