Friday, January 19, 2018
Public safety

Tampa man: Edible marijuana made me punch out flight attendants

TAMPA — A Tampa man says edible marijuana caused him to try to exit a plane mid-flight and then assault passengers and crew in July.

Joseph Hudek IV was on a Delta flight from Seattle to Beijing when he tried to open a door and then punched an attendant and passenger who were helping to subdue him.

In an affidavit, Hudek said he ingested the drugs in Seattle just before getting on the plane.

"My understanding is that it was legal to buy and consume marijuana in the state," he wrote. "After purchasing the edible marijuana, I ate it."

That was enough for a federal magistrate judge Tuesday to let him out of jail until his trial, which is scheduled for February.

Prosecutors indicted Hudek on four assault charges and a charge of interference with a flight crew. He faces 20 years to life in prison if convicted.

But now Hudek, a Plant High School graduate, can pass the time before his trial at his mother's South Tampa home — as long as he doesn't fly there. The judge said he must travel from Seattle by train or car.

In the affidavit, Hudek also promised to steer clear of any use of marijuana. He will have to take regular drug tests.

According to court documents, Hudek texted several friends before the July 6 flight with pictures of "two or three bags of marijuana edibles." The friends told investigators he has a history of regular marijuana use, and has used cocaine at least once.

His mother, Linda Hudek, told investigators he purchased marijuana-laced candy that day but did not have a history of mental health issues or substance abuse.

"I have never had a remotely similar incident in all my times of flying on an airplane," Joseph Hudek said in the affidavit.

The incident happened about an hour after the evening flight took off from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Hudek was riding in first class, according to court documents, using a ticket that he got free from Delta, where his mother works.

He drank a beer on the plane just before takeoff but no other alcohol. An hour in, he went to the bathroom, exited, returned and then came out again, this time shirtless. He grabbed the handle and tried to open the exit door, shouting, "I want to get out!"

The plane began turning around and flight attendants tried to stop him. Hudek pushed them out of the way, punching one several times. He also punched a passenger in the face and hit him in the back of the head with a wine bottle. 

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."

Eventually, the passenger and others restrained him.

Since the flight, his legal team has collected and submitted hundreds of pages of testimonials from Hudek's family, friends and former baseball teammates, who all said that "Jojo" was not a violent person.

One endorsement came from Florida House Minority Leader Janet Cruz, D-Tampa. Cruz wrote on office letterhead that Hudek grew up across the street from her and that she considered him an "honorable and caring" young man.

Another came from his uncle, former All-Star major league pitcher John Hudek, who wrote that the incident "is something that I have never seen from Jojo."

Hudek's physician, Dr. Joe Whitaker of Tampa, filed an affidavit claiming "paranoia, confusion, hallucinations and combativeness" are adverse effects of orally-ingested cannibinoids.

Two other doctors, who were both friends of the Hudeks, said they also believed the drug caused his outburst.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who take marijuana and alcohol together "can react with panic, anxiety or paranoia." The combination can also "increase the risk of psychotic symptoms" like hallucinations.

Attempts to reach Hudek by phone and at his parents' Tampa homes Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Contact Langston Taylor at [email protected] Follow @langstonitaylor.

Comments
Autopsy: MLB star Roy Halladay died from blunt force trauma, drowning

Autopsy: MLB star Roy Halladay died from blunt force trauma, drowning

Former Major League Baseball pitcher Roy Halladay died from blunt force trauma with drowning as a contributing factor when he crashed his personal plane into the water off New Port Richey in November, according to an autopsy report released Friday.Ha...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rapper Kodak Black arrested in Florida on grand theft, other charges

Rapper Kodak Black arrested in Florida on grand theft, other charges

FORT LAUDERDALE — Rapper Kodak Black has been ordered held without bail in Florida on seven felony charges that include child neglect and drug possession.The Broward Sheriff’s Office arrested the 20-year-old rapper, whose real name is Dieuson Octave,...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Two New Port Richey men accused of stealing $11,000 in cellphone merchandise

Two New Port Richey men accused of stealing $11,000 in cellphone merchandise

NEW PORT RICHEY — Two New Port Richey men face charges after Pasco County deputies say they stole about $11,000 worth of cell phones and cell phone equipment at a Metro PCS store on State Road 54.Robert Jackson and Ronald Hartshorn were arrested Wedn...
Updated: 5 hours ago
DUI arrest: Tampa man mistakes bank drive-through for Taco Bell

DUI arrest: Tampa man mistakes bank drive-through for Taco Bell

SPRING HILL — A 38-year-old Tampa man was arrested Wednesday on a charge of driving under the influence involving drugs or alcohol after deputies said he mistook a Bank of America drive-through for a Taco Bell.The branch manager of the Mariner Boulev...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Police presence at Martin Luther King Jr. Day after-party raises ire

Police presence at Martin Luther King Jr. Day after-party raises ire

ST. PETERSBURG — One after another, speakers stepped to the lectern at City Hall on Thursday and described the same image: police cruisers on every corner in Midtown, uniformed officers lined up across the roadway, souring what should have been a joy...
Published: 01/18/18
Tropical Breeze patron rides shuttle to check on crew

Tropical Breeze patron rides shuttle to check on crew

PORT RICHEY — Loretta Santini was one of a small group of customers boarding a Tropical Breeze Casino shuttle Thursday afternoon as the company sailed for the first day since another of its shuttle boats burned to the water Sunday, killing one woman....
Published: 01/18/18
Police: ‘Man-bun bandit’ seen stealing packages from Clearwater home

Police: ‘Man-bun bandit’ seen stealing packages from Clearwater home

Clearwater Police are searching for a "man-bun bandit" who is seen stealing packages from a residence.Police on Thursday tweeted this video of the suspect, who is seen attempting to balance multiple packages while gathering them at a home on Majestic...
Published: 01/18/18
Captain of casino boat that caught fire says he’s no hero

Captain of casino boat that caught fire says he’s no hero

The captain of a casino boat shuttle that caught fire over the weekend in Port Richey says he’s no hero, despite quickly running his boat aground so that 49 passengers on the vessel could escape.One of those passengers, Carrie Dempsey, a 42-year-old ...
Published: 01/18/18

Two treated at hospital after fire at Apollo Beach home

Two elderly residents were treated at a local hospital after a fire at an Apollo Beach home early Thursday morning.Hillsborough Fire Rescue crews, responding to the 600 block of Flamingo Drive around 4 a.m., found the home fully engulfed in flames.Tw...
Published: 01/18/18

Hernando deputy standoff fueled by day of drinking

William "Cole" Brinson drank all day and had been "trying to start things all evening" before barricading himself in his home north of Brooksville on Jan. 8, according to Hernando County Sheriff’s Office arrest records.It wasn’t the first time, accor...
Published: 01/18/18