PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A passenger who admitted he’d recently used methamphetamine caused a Delta flight traveling from Portland to Atlanta to make an emergency stop in Salt Lake City, Utah Saturday, according to court documents.
The Delta Airlines flight was on a nonstop course for Georgia, but things started to go awry shortly after takeoff, a Salt Lake City Police Department officer stated in a criminal complaint.
Witnesses told the officer that James Harold Jones would not stay in his seat and said he wasn’t feeling well.
Flight attendants gave Jones ginger ale and he sat down briefly, but then he began forcing napkins and moist towelettes into the vents above his seat.
Jones started yelling that he was being poisoned and insisted on speaking to the captain and the FBI. He refused to sit down when he was told and moved from row to row through the cabin. He continued to talk and behave erratically and flight attendants told police they blocked the area in front of the cockpit door with service carts as a precaution.
At one point, Jones was climbing over seats from the exit row through the first class cabin. Eventually, passengers and flight attendants restrained him and placed him in flex cuffs.
The plane was diverted to Salt Lake City and Jones was arrested when the plane landed. Officers noticed he appeared to show signs of methamphetamine intoxication.
First responders determined Jones did not have any mental health issues. After he was read his Miranda rights, Jones told officers he had used meth in the past several days and that he frequently has adverse behavioral reactions to meth several days after he uses it.
Jones is facing federal charges in Utah for interfering with the flight crew. Court documents said that if he’s sentenced for his crimes, he could face more than 10 years in prison.
Officials are also concerned Jones could flee the state of Utah, since he is a resident of Kentucky with no known ties to the area. Court documents said he has a long history of arrests and failures to appear or comply with court orders.