Passenger causes plane to divert to SLC while high on meth, crawling on seats

Sep 7, 2022, 5:57 PM
FILE: A Delta plane taxis at Los Angeles International Airport on July 12, 2018, in Los Angeles, Ca...
FILE: A Delta plane taxis at Los Angeles International Airport on July 12, 2018, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — An airline passenger allegedly admitted to taking meth and scaring flight crews, forcing a flight to divert to Salt Lake International Airport over Labor Day Weekend.

According to federal court documents, James Harold Jones, 45, of Kentucky, was on a Delta Airlines flight from Portland, Oregon, to Atlanta, Georgia, on Sept. 3.

Witnesses reported that Jones would not remain in his seat and refused to listen to flight crew instructions as the plane took off from Portland. He stated he was feeling unwell to flight attendants, and they provided him with ginger ale which settled him down briefly.

However, according to court documents, Jones started forcing napkins and most towelettes into the vents above his seat.

“As the plane was in flight, Jones was yelling that he was being poisoned, and demanding to speak to the captain and to the FBI,” according to court documents. “Jones would not remain seated and was moving from row to row through the cabin.”

Flight crews asked Jones to sit down while the plane experienced turbulence, but he acted and spoke erratically.

“The flight attendants blocked the area in front of the cockpit door with service carts as a precaution,” documents state. “At one point, Jones was climbing over seats from the exit row through the first class cabin.”

Jones was soon restrained by other passengers and flight attendants, placed in flex cuffs, and restrained in a first-class seat.

The captain diverted the flight to Salt Lake City because Jones “frightened and intimidated” the crew, according to court documents.

Jones was arrested when the plane landed at Salt Lake Int. Airport, where he was checked medically and claimed no mental health issues.

Officers believed he was showing the signs of methamphetamine intoxication. After being read his Miranda rights, Jones stated that he had used meth in the past several days and had “adverse behavioral reactions” after using it.

Jones was charged with interference with a flight crew.

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Passenger causes plane to divert to SLC while high on meth, crawling on seats