An off-duty police officer was arrested on suspicion of engaging in intoxicated and belligerent behavior that included refusing to get off a plane, pushing a flight attendant and grabbing his son by the neck in a threatening way, investigators said.
With bloodshot eyes and reeking of alcohol, Derrick Gilbert tried to find his seat among the 133 other passengers aboard an Allegiant Airlines flight to Greensboro, North Carolina, from St. Petersburg-Clearwater Airport around 6:30 p.m. Friday, according to Pinellas County sheriff’s deputies.
Flight attendants said Gilbert looked confused and was unable to find his seat. He slurred his words and had glassy eyes, they said.
The flight attendants assessed that Gilbert was too inebriated to fly and asked him to get off the plane, investigators said.
At first he refused, but flight attendants eventually were able to get Gilbert off the plane.
As he was getting off the plane Gilbert pushed flight attendant Kelby Oats, 25, investigators said witnesses told them. Gilbert also violently pushed and grabbed the neck of Tai Gilbert, his 18-year-old son, in a threatening way when he tried to convince him to get off the plane, investigators said.
Once off, he refused to leave the airport. He said deputies could not arrest him because he worked with the Sarasota Police Department, investigators said.
Deputies then took Gilbert, who Sarasota police confirmed worked with its department, into custody without further incident.
Gilbert was arrested and charged with trespassing on property other than structure or conveyance, battery and domestic battery, investigators said.
Oats and Tai Gilbert were not injured.