Unruly passenger banned from air travel for one year

Posted: Friday, January 10, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- An Eagle River man who threatened a flight attendant has been banned from air travel for one year, the U.S. Attorney's Office said Thursday.

U.S. District Court Judge John W. Sedwick also placed James Ridge, 68, on four years probation where he won't be allowed to drink alcohol. And the judge required Ridge to undergo alcohol treatment and mental health counseling. He also was fined $1,000.

Ridge previously pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of interfering with a flight crew. He admitted to threatening the attendant during a flight Feb. 5 from Anchorage to Kentucky.

Ridge, who had been drinking, asked a flight attendant if he could smoke a cigarette. When the flight attendant said no, Ridge swore at her and said, ''I'm going to get up and split your head open,'' assistant U.S. attorney Deborah Smith said in a statement.

Ridge was restrained by several male passengers and the flight continued on to Kentucky. He was arrested the next day.

Prosecutors said alcohol and medication for depression fueled Ridge's behavior.

Ridge was traveling on Delta Airlines Flight 1008 to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to visit family.

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