An unruly passenger on an American Airlines flight to Chicago was identified on Tuesday after her disruptive behavior forced the plane to make an emergency landing in Indianapolis a day earlier.
Daniela Velez-Reyes, 25, of Chicago, who was identified by the Indianapolis Airport Authority upon landing, has been arrested on suspicion of battery, disorderly conduct, criminal recklessness, and resisting law enforcement after she kissed a female flight attendant attempting to calm her down, punched the attendant in the face, and then kicked a police officer during her arrest, the Indianapolis Star reported
. One of the two victims involved in the incident reportedly suffered a minor injury.
“[Velez-Reyes] was disoriented through the entire flight, not being able to find her seat, walking back and forth,” said Marian Frendt, a fellow passenger on AA1284, according to ABC7 Chicago.
“And when she came to the back, she was sweating profusely . . . Then she started kicking the seat of the passenger in front of her, and he apparently turned around to complain . . . and she hit him.”
After the flight attendant intervened, took the unruly passenger to the back of the plane, and attempted to calm her down, witnesses reported that Velez-Reyes grabbed the attendant’s face, kissed her, and then punched her.
During the ensuing scuffle, the pilot asked over the intercom that fellow passengers aid in restraining Velez-Reyes.
“He just said large men,” said fellow passenger Jim Saviano, according to ABC7 Chicago. “He said, ‘I need large passengers to restrain another passenger.’ So when I hear 'large passenger,' I'm thinking something big is going down.”
As Velez-Reyes was escorted off the plane in flex-cuffs shown in passenger-recorded videos, she kicked one of her escorting officers.
Because the plane’s pilot responded to the disruption by landing the plane in Indianapolis to remove Velez-Reyes, the flight reached its intended destination in Chicago roughly 90 minutes late.
Velez-Reyes is currently in custody at the Marion County Jail, and the circumstances surrounding her bizarre behavior are still under investigation, according to the Indianapolis Star.
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