A New York woman has been sentenced to four months in prison for engaging in intimidating behavior on board a plane, according to the Arizona District Attorney’s office.
Kelly Pichardo and her co-defendant Leeza S. Rodriguez were charged with assaulting a passenger during a flight, using racial slurs against a man who asked them to stop, and for spitting on another person who filmed the insanity in 2021.
Rodriguez will be sentenced on November 7, 2022.
The women were traveling first class on an American Airlines flight from Dallas to Los Angeles when the insanity occurred, forcing the pilot to divert the flight and land in Phoenix. When you force a plane to land somewhere else, you’re going to do some jail time unless its’ a medical emergency.
Airline Passengers Charged with Interfering with Flight Crew and Assaulting Passengers: Kelly Pichardo, of Bronx, New York, appeared virtually in court on charges that she interfered with a flight crew member and committed simple assault.
In addition to the jail time, Richard has been sentenced to 36 months of supervised release following her prison time, and has been ordered to pay $9,123.00 to American Airlines, the press release explains.
“There is a line between boorish behavior on an airplane and criminal activity, and the defendant clearly crossed it,” United States Attorney Gary Restaino said. “First class passengers are not immune from prosecution: defendant’s verbal and physical intimidation disrupted the travel of passengers and crew alike.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 9, 2022
New York Woman Sentenced to Prison for Interfering with a Flight Crew
PHOENIX, Ariz. – Last week, Kelly Pichardo, 32, of Bronx, New York, was sentenced by United States District Judge Dominic W. Lanza to four months in prison followed by 36 months of supervised release. Pichardo previously pleaded guilty to Interference with Flight Crew Members. Pichardo was also ordered to pay restitution to American Airlines in the amount of $9,123.00.
In 2021, Pichardo and her co-defendant, Leeza S. Rodriguez, engaged in unruly and intimidating behavior while traveling first class on an American Airlines flight from Dallas to Los Angeles. Their actions caused such a disturbance that the pilot had to divert the flight to Phoenix, Arizona, so Pichardo and Rodriguez could be removed from the plane. Rodriguez is scheduled to be sentenced pursuant to her guilty plea in this case on November 7, 2022.
“There is a line between boorish behavior on an airplane and criminal activity, and the defendant clearly crossed it,” said United States Attorney Gary Restaino. “First class passengers are not immune from prosecution: defendant’s verbal and physical intimidation disrupted the travel of passengers and crew alike.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation in this case with assistance from the Phoenix Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Hakala, District of Arizona, Phoenix, handled the prosecution.
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