Cops: Guy Attacked Flight Attendant, Tried to Storm Cockpit

'If he did actually get into that cockpit, Lord knows what would have happened'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2020 5:03 AM CST

Passengers on a flight into New Jersey from DC had a scare as the United Express plane started to land in Newark on Thursday evening, reports NBC New York. Passenger Mike Egbert says that Matthew Dingley got up and went into a "full sprint" toward the cockpit, ramming into the door and starting to bang on it. When a flight attendant tried to stop Dingley, Egbert says that Dingley went after her. "A slight woman, petite, and this guy was clocking her," he says, noting that he and other passengers intervened and were able to calm the situation down. That didn't last, though: When the plane landed and police tried to board to confront Dingley, he rushed at them.

Six police officers were injured before they were able to get Dingley under control, including one who was knocked off the plane's stairs and broke four ribs. The flight attendant was hospitalized and released. "If he did actually get into that cockpit, Lord knows what would have happened," Egbert says. Per CNN, Dingley was charged with aggravated assault, resisting arrest, interfering with transportation, and criminal trespassing and booked Friday into Essex County Jail. "We express our gratitude for the quick reaction of our passengers and crew who responded during this incident," CommutAir, which operates United Express, said in a statement to NBC News. This isn't Dingley's first legal issue: He was arrested in 2016 after a police chase in North Carolina and earned a guilty charge in 2017 for DWI in New York. (More United Airlines stories.)

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