DETROIT — A co-pilot suspected of being drunk in the cockpit has been charged with a misdemeanor, according to the prosecutor’s office in Wayne County, Michigan.
John Maguire, 50, was arrested Saturday at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport after failing two sobriety tests, airport police said.
He’s been charged with operating an aircraft under the influence, according to Maria Miller, a spokeswoman for the Wayne County assistant prosecuting attorney. However, it’s a misdemeanor charge because — despite the wording — he wasn’t operating the plane.
“Although we do not often hear of pilots being allegedly intoxicated, the laws apply to everyone — whether one is on the roads or airways,” prosecutor Kym Worthy said.
No federal charges have been filed, said Gina Balay, with the office of the U.S. Attorney for Michigan’s Eastern District.
Maguire, of Pennsylvania, was detained before his flight to Philadelphia took off. Airport police had been called to the North Terminal in the early morning hours about a report of a pilot who was “exhibiting signs of being drunk,” airport spokesman Michael Conway said.
The flight was canceled.
Pilots cannot fly while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, according to FAA regulations. Those rules also stipulate that pilots can’t consume alcohol eight hours before a flight. Those with a blood alcohol content level higher than .04 percent — half what the legal driving limit is in most states — are not allowed to operate an aircraft.
It was not immediately clear if Maguire has a lawyer representing him and, if so, who. His arraignment could be as early as next week, the prosecutor’s office said.
“This is a serious matter and we will handle it appropriately, as the safety and care of our customers and employees is our highest priority. We do not disclose employment status publicly, so we will not have further details to release,” American Airlines told CNN on Tuesday.