A flight attendant broke a wine bottle over the head of a man who lunged for an exit door and fought with other passengers during a Delta Air Lines flight from Seattle to Beijing, but it didn't faze him, an FBI agent wrote in charging papers filed Friday. Joseph Daniel Hudek IV, 23, of Tampa, Florida, appeared in US District Court, wearing a beige jail uniform and sporting a scrape or bruise below his right eye. He was arrested Thursday night after causing the disturbance that forced the plane to return to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and sent one flight attendant and one passenger to the hospital with severe facial injuries, authorities said. Hudek did not speak during the hearing. His attorney, Robert Flennaugh II, declined to comment. Hudek was charged with interfering with a flight crew, which carries a possible sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, the AP reports. He is expected to remain in custody at least until a detention hearing on July 13.
A probable cause statement written by FBI special agent Caryn Highley says Hudek, who had one beer before takeoff but did not appear intoxicated, went into the forward restroom about an hour into the flight. He came out quickly, asked the attendant a question, and went back in. When he came out again two minutes later, he suddenly lunged for the exit door, grabbed the handle and tried to open it, Highley wrote. Two attendants grabbed him, but he pushed them away, and the attendants signaled for help from several passengers. Hudek punched one flight attendant twice in the face and struck at least one passenger in the head with a red dessert wine bottle, it said. As the struggle continued, a flight attendant grabbed two wine bottles and hit Hudek over the head with each—breaking at least one of them, Highley wrote. According to one flight attendant, "Hudek did not seem impacted by the breaking of a full liter red wine bottle over his head, and instead shouted, 'Do you know who I am?' or something to that extent," the complaint said. Ultimately, it took multiple passengers to restrain him and keep him restrained. (Read more Delta Air Lines stories.)