Sister to plead guilty and admit hitting flight crew

Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A woman who along with her identical twin sister was arrested after causing a ruckus aboard a plane has agreed to plead guilty and admit she struck several crew members, according to court documents.

Cynthia Mikula, 22, of Buckley, Mich., is charged with interfering with a flight crew aboard a United Airlines flight. She was scheduled to go on trial Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Anchorage but has agreed to plead guilty instead.

In exchange, she will receive less than the maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years supervised release. She is scheduled to enter her plea and be sentenced before Judge John Sedwick on either Sept. 18 or 19.

Cynthia Mikula's sister, Crystal Mikula, also struck a deal with prosecutors. She agreed earlier this month to plead guilty to a lesser charge of misdemeanor assault. She is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 20. She faces a maximum six-month sentence and $5,000 fine.

The women were headed to a modeling competition in Shanghai, China, on April 19 when they got drunk, began swearing at each other, smoked aboard the plane and assaulted members of the flight crew when they tried to intervene.

Cynthia Mikula struck a female flight attendant in the face, and hit another male flight attendant and the captain, according to court documents. She bloodied the nose of the female flight attendant.

Her sister jumped on the back of another flight attendant and choked him in an attempt to prevent her sister from being restrained with plastic handcuffs.

One of the plane's 233 passengers videotaped the disturbance.

The pilot was forced to divert the plane to Anchorage where the passengers and 22 crew members were forced to spend the night before resuming the trip.

The twins will be required to pay restitution to the airline in an amount set by the court. United had to accommodate the passengers during the lengthy delay, compensate them for the inconvenience and pay the crew overtime.



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