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Arrest on a Sacramento Airplane Flight

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December 12, 2017
Edward Smith


Arrest on a Sacramento Airplane Flight

A disturbance on a Southwestern flight that departed from Portland and was on its way to Sacramento resulted in an arrest of one of the passengers on December 9. The woman was arrested and taken to a jail in Sacramento County with $75,000 bail and is scheduled for an arraignment hearing this afternoon.

What Happened

The woman, named Valerie Curbelo, a Sandy, Oregon, 24-year-old,  boarded a plane in Portland for a flight of less than 1 ½ hours. She reportedly entered one of the restrooms on board the flight. There, she proceeded to try to disable the bathroom’s smoke detector and started smoking. Both of these actions are against Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

Unruly Passenger Ordered to Take Her Seat

Flight attendants ordered the woman to return to her seat, where she began cursing and threatening to kill everyone on board unless the pilot landed the plane. According to a witness on the plane, the woman shoved one of the flight attendants and had to be restrained physically until the plane landed in Sacramento about half an hour later.

Woman Arrested at Sacramento Airport

Law enforcement officials were waiting for the woman after the plane landed in Sacramento and took her into custody. In an interview at the jail, the woman admitted to smoking on the plane and making threats. She said she started smoking to counter her anxiety, although she did not know what was causing her to be anxious.  

Instances of Unruly Airline Passengers

The International Air Transport Association reported that for every 1,424 airplane flights, an unruly airline passenger caused an incident in 2016. The majority were verbal incidents and could be handled by the plane’s crew. However, 12 percent of the incidents included damage to the plane or physical aggression, as in the above case. Thirty-three percent involved a passenger who was either intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. Incidents involving passengers in 2016 showed a significant increase in the incidents reported in 2015.

Security and Safety

Security and safety are vital aboard a flight since an unruly or dangerous passenger can cause a severe air accident. Unruly passengers are identified by the IATA as those who exhibit the following behaviors:

  • Refusal to follow instructions
  • Intoxication, whether by the use of drugs or alcohol
  • Physical or verbal confrontation with other passengers or the members of the flight crew
  • Lack of cooperation, such as refusing to get off the plane or interfering with a crew member’s duties
  • Harassment or sexual abuse
  • Making threats against passengers, crew, or the aircraft itself
  • Behaviors that are unusual, such as screaming, kicking the backs of the seats, and others.

Airplane Accident Injuries

Airplane accidents cause devastating loss of life or catastrophic injuries to passengers. Head and brain injuries are commonly seen and are a significant cause of fatalities. Facial injuries are commonly found. Spinal injuries may result in paralysis or other permanent damage. Injuries to the heart and cardiovascular system are also common, occurring in about 80 percent of plane crash fatalities, according to a report by NATO. Abdominal trauma and fractures of the limbs also occur.

Sacramento Airplane Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento airplane accident lawyer. If you’ve been injured on an airplane, call me at (916) 921-6400. I am here for you with friendly and free advice. The toll-free number is (800) 404-5400, or you can contact me on at our online contact page.

Since 1982, I’ve practiced as a Sacramento and Northern California injury lawyer. I have represented countless injury victims in their traumatic injury cases and for recovery of fair compensation in wrongful death.

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: cd [cs 710] cv