JetBlue Pilot: Gum Caused 0.11 Blood Alcohol Level

Co-pilot saw him sip 'unknown beverage'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 28, 2016 4:32 AM CDT
JetBlue Pilot Accused of Flying Drunk
A man watches a JetBlue airplane take off from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

A commercial pilot was under the influence of alcohol while flying a JetBlue airliner carrying 151 passengers last year from Orlando, Fla., to New York City, federal prosecutors said Wednesday, per the AP. A criminal complaint says Dennis Murphy Jr. was selected for a random alcohol test after Flight 584 landed at Kennedy Airport on April 21, 2015. The court papers allege the test found that his blood alcohol level was 0.11, exceeding the 0.04 legal limit for pilots. A co-pilot later told investigators he saw Murphy "drinking an unknown beverage from a cup before and during" Flight 584 and another flight earlier in the day from New York to Orlando, the complaint says. On the way to being tested for alcohol, the pilot was red-faced and "chewing gum rapidly," it adds.

The complaint says Murphy, 44, claimed the high reading was caused by the gum and asked why he was being tested for alcohol instead of drugs, the New York Daily News reports. Murphy was released on $50,000 bond after appearing Wednesday in federal court in Brooklyn, NY. In a statement, JetBlue said it has a "zero tolerance" drug and alcohol policy and that Murphy no longer works there. (Last month, an American Airlines co-pilot was arrested in Detroit after allegedly showing up for work drunk.)

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