A Delta Airlines pilot has been charged after he allegedly boarded a plane drunk in Minneapolis.
Court documents obtained by KSTP revealed that the pilot, Gabriel Lyle Schroeder, 37, of Rosemount, Minnesota, was charged via summons with one count each of operating or attempting to operate under the influence of alcohol and operating or attempting to operate under the influence when alcohol concentration is 0.04 or more.
Schroeder’s charges follow his July 30 arrest on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol, after he was removed from a flight at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport at 11am.
He had been scheduled to fly the plane from Minneapolis to San Diego.
The pilot, Gabriel Lyle Schroeder, was removed from his Delta flight at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport on July 30 at 11am for allegedly being drunk
Prior to boarding the flight, TSA officers spotted Schroeder leaving a screening line for known crew members after he was told they were carrying out additional checks and reported him to TSA police believing that he may have had a prohibited item in his bag.
Authorities said that when Schroeder returned to the TSA screening line and a federal air marshal asked where Schroeder had gone after he left the screening line, the pilot claimed he went to the Delta crew room to pick up his iPad which he left behind.
TSA police were then informed that Schroeder did not go into the Delta crew room, but that he had actually gone inside a bathroom for about 27 seconds.
When the bathroom was searched, authorities said they found an unopened 1.75-liter bottle of Phillips Vodka in the trash.
Authorites said they caught up with Schroeder, seated in the first officer’s chair in the cockpit of the plane, talking with the captain, that he was scheduled to fly that morning. Two passengers were said to have been on board at the time.
Detectives said that while they were speaking with the plane’s captain, Schroeder ‘started sweating and shaking.’
When they asked Schroeder about the last time he had consumed alcohol, he allegedly told police that it had been three days since he last had booze.
He had been scheduled to fly the plane from Minneapolis to San Diego. The 37-year-old allegedly threw out a bottle of vodka before boarding his flight and police said they smelled booze on his breath while interviewing him in the cockpit
However, a detective said that he could smell alcohol coming off Schroeder’s breath during the conversation, in which Schroeder also denied going into the bathroom and reiterated his crew room story.
Eventually Schroeder was said to have admitted that he ‘might’ have gone into the bathroom, but denied throwing out the vodka.
Police then conducted two sobriety tests on Schroeder, including a breathalyzer, which revealed a .065 BAC, which lead to his being arrested.
After being Mirandized, Schroeder admitted that the vodka bottle found in the bathroom garage was his and that he had thrown it out because he was ’embarrassed’ to have it in his possession.
He also admitted that he had actually had a beer and three vodka drinks at 6pm, the night before he showed up at the airport.
Forensic testing of his blood sample estimated that at the time he was in the cockpit, he had a ethyl alcohol concentration of between .04 to .08 in his system.
Schroeder was booked but later released from custody. He is expected to make his first court appearance on the gross misdemeanor charges on November 27.
Delta said in a statement that it’s ‘alcohol policy is among the strictest in the industry and we have no tolerance for violation. Delta is cooperating with local authorities in their investigation.
In Minnesota, the legal alcohol-concentration car driving limit is 0.08, but motorists can be arrested for DWI at lower levels, according to the state’s Office of Traffic Safety.