Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Public safety

Judge releases Tampa man accused of wine bottle brawl on Delta flight

SEATTLE - The Tampa man accused of going berserk on a Seattle-to-Beijing flight, beating passengers and crew members with a wine bottle before being subdued, has been ordered released from federal custody by a Seattle magistrate judge.

Joseph D. Hudek IV, 23, last month asked the court to reconsider its order detaining him following his arrest on July 6 after allegedly trying to open an exit door aboard Delta Air Lines Flight 129 while the Boeing 767 was over the Pacific Ocean.

Hudek says in new court documents that he'd eaten cannabis just before the flight and insists he poses no danger if he's not high.

Magistrate Judge James Donohue on Tuesday released Hudek to his mother so he can return home to Tampa, despite the government's objections. However, Hudek cannot fly and must travel by train or car. He also is barred from using cannabis.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: FBI says Delta flight attendants smashed disruptive Tampa man with a wine bottle

Hudek, who faces 20 years to life for assault and up to 10 years for other criminal counts, is scheduled to be tried on Feb. 22

According to federal charges, Hudek - who was flying first class on a "dependent pass" - became violent when two flight attendants tried to stop him from opening a cabin door. Federal agents said he was able to move the lever halfway up.

A melee ensued in which Hudek allegedly punched one of the attendants twice in the face, hit a male passenger in the head with a wine bottle and punched him several times.

A flight attendant grabbed two wine bottles and hit Hudek with both, breaking one over his head.

According to a complaint filed by the FBI in Seattle, "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 words to that effect."

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Tampa friends baffled by Plant High grad's arrest in plane melee

It ended up taking several passengers to restrain him before the plane returned to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, according to a federal complaint.

One of the flight attendants and a male passenger were treated for severe facial injuries, including bruising and bloody lacerations. Hudek's lawyers point out in court pleadings that no bones were broken.

Hudek has been in federal custody since then. However, his Seattle lawyer, Robert Flennaugh II, filed a motion asking the court to reconsider its detention order, saying Hudek can live with his parents in Tampa or an uncle in Texas, will have a job and will refrain from alcohol and marijuana.

His attorneys have submitted more than 300 letters of recommendation to the court, arguing that he has no history of violence or substance abuse.

Hudek has filed an affidavit with the court stating that he purchased and ingested "edible marijuana" in Seattle just before his flight.

"Later, while on the airplane and after I had consumed the marijuana, I began to feel dramatically different," Hudek said in the sworn document. The affidavit does not say how much edible marijuana he consumed,

Flennaugh also submitted an affidavit from Hudek's personal physician, Dr. Joe Whitaker of Tampa, that known side effects of orally ingested marijuana can include paranoia, confusion, hallucinations and combativeness.

Comments
Deputies: Pasco woman escapes attacker after death threats, sexual assault

Deputies: Pasco woman escapes attacker after death threats, sexual assault

PORT RICHEY — She was home doing laundry when he asked to come over. A few hours later she was running from his house, scared for her life after being raped, robbed and kidnapped, according to the Pasco Sheriff’s Office.Tyler Edward Pot...
Updated: 24 minutes ago
Manslaughter charges coming against suspect in death of Tampa muralist Matt Callahan

Manslaughter charges coming against suspect in death of Tampa muralist Matt Callahan

TAMPA — Police say they’re bringing manslaughter charges Tuesday in the April death of Tampa muralist Matt Callahan. The suspect, 34-year-old Keith Mauga of Tampa, already is serving five years in prison for aggravated battery in an atta...
Updated: 1 hour ago
A gopher tortoise has been found with pink painted nails and shell

A gopher tortoise has been found with pink painted nails and shell

Photos once again are surfacing again on social media after someone painted a gopher tortoise. In a post on its Facebook page, the non-profit Owl's Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife in Odessa showed photos of a rescued female tortoise -- which is a threate...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Police investigating shooting at East Tampa apartment complex

Police investigating shooting at East Tampa apartment complex

TAMPA -- Police are investigating a shooting at an apartment complex in East Tampa early Tuesday morning.The shooting occurred around 2:30 a.m. at the Silver Oaks Apartments, 4200 Kenneth Court, according to the Tampa Police Department.According to p...
Updated: 6 hours ago
St. Petersburg police: man fatally shot in empty lot

St. Petersburg police: man fatally shot in empty lot

ST. PETERSBURG — A man was fatally shot while he was in an empty lot Monday night near the Enoch D. Davis recreation center, police said.The man, whose name was not made public, was pronounced dead at a hospital.Detectives said he was in the lot near...
Published: 09/17/18
Tampa police make two arrests in two different crime sprees

Tampa police make two arrests in two different crime sprees

TAMPA— Two men accused of pulling off two different crime sprees were arrested by Tampa Police this weekend.One man was captured after a 14-hour frenzy of robberies at drive-thru restaurants across east Tampa, police said. The second man was arrested...
Published: 09/17/18
Stolen Winnebago bought for $246,445 worthless check is found

Stolen Winnebago bought for $246,445 worthless check is found

It has been found.The 2014 Winnebago that deputies say Robert Schneider bought on June 26 from the Lazy Days RV store in Seffner with a worthless check of $246,445 has been found, 2½-months later.The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office s...
Published: 09/17/18
Squatter accused in Tampa stabbing is also a suspect in slaying of Orlando woman

Squatter accused in Tampa stabbing is also a suspect in slaying of Orlando woman

TAMPA— A homeless man arrested Friday after police received a complaint he was sleeping in an abandoned home has now been identified as a suspect in the unsolved murder of an Orlando grandmother. Bobby Lee Story, 52, took off running when Tampa polic...
Published: 09/17/18

Dr. Delay: Pinellas Trail bridge to reopen in late fall

When will (the Pinellas Trail Bridge across Alt 19 North of Curlew road) be repaired and reopened? -AJ NicholsThe bridge, which was closed last fall, should be reopened by late fall. The $2 million contract was awarded to GLF Construction earlier thi...
Published: 09/17/18
I-275 reopened after closure of northbound lanes in Tampa

I-275 reopened after closure of northbound lanes in Tampa

TAMPA— All northbound lanes of Interstate 275 have been reopened after a crash involving multiple vehicles temporarily stopped traffic, Tampa police said. The crash did not result in any major injuries, a spokeswoman said. All northbound lanes were c...
Published: 09/17/18