Pilot found ‘operating under influence’


An American Airlines co-pilot was detained at Detroit Metropolitan Airport early Saturday morning on suspicion of being drunk, an airport spokesman confirmed.

Airport police came to the North Terminal after passersby reported a pilot who appeared to be exhibiting signs of being drunk.

According to airport spokesman Michael Conway, the co-pilot allegedly failed a Breathalyzer test administered by airport police.

Following the incident, American Airlines canceled Flight 736 from Detroit to Philadelphia, leaving many passengers upset.

“We are re-accommodating our customers on other flights,” American Airlines spokeswoman Laura Nedbal said in a statement.

“Safety is our highest priority and we apologize to our customers for the disruption of their travel plans.”

After the co-pilot failed the initial Breathalyzer test, he was taken to a local police department for a more precise sobriety test. Both tests confirmed that he was over the legal limit for operating an aircraft, airport police said.

American Airlines and authorities identified the co-pilot as John Maguire, a resident of Pennsylvania born in 1965.

The co-pilot was later released from custody after his alcohol level dropped to the legal limit, Conway said.

Maria Miller, a spokeswoman for the Wayne County assistant prosecuting attorney, confirms that Maguire has been charged with operating an aircraft under the influence. The charge is listed as a misdemeanor since 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.

As of now, no federal charges have been filed, said Gina Balay, with the office of the U.S. Attorney for Michigan’s Eastern District.