The temptation of legal marijuana was too great for one Tampa man, who found himself sitting in a federal detention center after a mid-air altercation on a flight from Seattle to Beijing.
“My understanding is that it was legal to buy and consume marijuana in the state,” said Joseph Hudek IV in an affidavit. “After purchasing the edible marijuana, I ate it.”
Hudek, 24, said he consumed the candy containing marijuana just before getting on Delta’s Flight 129 on July 6. He also had a beer soon after boarding.
But about an hour after takeoff, Hudek became volatile. Hudek went into the plane’s bathroom, left, came back and then exited once more without his shirt on, according to court documents. He then grabbed the plane’s door handle and tried to get out.
That’s when things got messy.
Hudek reportedly warded off two flight attendants trying to get him away from the door. The flight attendants asked for help from several passengers, but Hudek became even more violent, punching both Delta employees in the face and also hitting one passenger in the head with a wine bottle.
The pilot alerted the Federal Aviation Administration of the disturbance and was instructed to return the plane to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Even after striking Hudek in the head twice with wine bottles, flight attendants were still unable to corral him. More passengers assisted and held him long enough to apply zip ties, but Hudek “remained extremely combative,” according to court documents.
Detectives found that Hudek had shifted the emergency door handle about halfway, which could have caused it to open at a low altitude.
The plane returned to Sea-Tac Airport without further problems and all 210 passengers and crew members were deplaned.
Tampa Bay Times reports that Hudek’s friends and family can’t believe what happened. Even Florida House Minority Leader Janet Cruz, who lived across the street from Hudek when he was a child, said that he is an “honorable and caring” person.
Hudek has been charged with interfering with a flight crew and four counts of assault and, if convicted, could face anywhere between 20 years to life in prison. He has been released from the federal detention center and his trial is set to take place in February.
Hudek flew first-class on a “dependent” ticket courtesy of Delta because his mother works there, but he won’t be taking advantage of that perk when he returns to Seattle for his trial. He’ll need to get there by car or train, due to a court order.