Thursday, September 20, 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
Boston incident sparks concern over testing gas pipes in St. Pete

Boston incident sparks concern over testing gas pipes in St. Pete

By SUHAUNA HUSSAINTimes Staff WriterST. PETERSBURG — One day after a string of fiery natural-gas explosions rocked three Massachusetts towns,St. Petersburg sent out a notice to residents warning them that Florida Gas Transmission will be testing its...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Busted, baby: Rapper Plies arrested at Tampa International Airport

Busted, baby: Rapper Plies arrested at Tampa International Airport

TAMPA — The rapper Plies, aka Algernod Lanier Washington, was arrested at Tampa International Airport on Wednesday after authorities say a gun was found in his carry-on bag.The 42-year-old Wesley Chapel resident faces a charge of carrying a concealed...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office launches Facebook, Twitter accounts in Spanish

Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office launches Facebook, Twitter accounts in Spanish

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office now has Facebook and Twitter accounts in Spanish.The agency celebrated the official launch of the accounts on Wednesday. Sheriff Chad Chronister said the goal is to connect with an increasing number of...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Ninety animals seized Tuesday in Hernando County cruelty case

Ninety animals seized Tuesday in Hernando County cruelty case

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando sheriff’s deputies seized 90 animals on Tuesday and arrested a woman on animal cruelty and animal mistreatment charges after people called with concerns about an ill horse.Crystal Robin Crawford, 46, was arrested but not taken ...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Cops question viral video about human trafficking at Pinellas Publix

Cops question viral video about human trafficking at Pinellas Publix

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is setting the record straight about a viral Facebook video posted by a Dunedin woman who claimed she almost fell victim to human trafficking. Lynne Knowles took to Facebook to share what happened to her at the Pu...
Published: 09/19/18
Pasco man taken down by K9 after attempting to kidnap infant girl, putting schools on lockdown

Pasco man taken down by K9 after attempting to kidnap infant girl, putting schools on lockdown

NEW PORT RICHEY — A few hours before he was lying on his back in the woods, shirtless with a dog’s jaws clamped around his arm, Kevin Wilson climbed into a second-story window and tried to kidnap a 6-month-old baby girl, according to the ...
Published: 09/19/18
Fate of FEMA leader Brock Long in doubt as Florence cleanup continues

Fate of FEMA leader Brock Long in doubt as Florence cleanup continues

WASHINGTON — While Hurricane Florence barreled through the Carolinas, a different type of storm was brewing within the federal disaster relief agency tasked with responding to the fallout.The fate of Brock Long, the head of the Federal Emergen...
Published: 09/19/18
Largo names new fire chief

Largo names new fire chief

LARGO — After two nationwide searches that produced 119 applicants, City Manager Henry Schubert didn’t have to look far to find his new fire chief.Schubert announced recently that Chad Pittman, deputy chief of Palm Harbor Fire Rescue, w...
Published: 09/19/18
Police release name of man shot Tuesday at Tampa apartment complex

Police release name of man shot Tuesday at Tampa apartment complex

TAMPA — An 18-year-old man was critically injured Tuesday when he was shot at an apartment complex in northeast Tampa.Officers responded about 2:30 a.m. to a call about an unknown emergency at the Silver Oaks Apartments, 4200 Kenneth Court, Ta...
Published: 09/18/18
Fatal punch on Gandy median leads to manslaughter charge in Tampa muralist’s death

Fatal punch on Gandy median leads to manslaughter charge in Tampa muralist’s death

TAMPA — Police are bringing manslaughter charges against a Tampa man accused of throwing a fatal punch last April at well-known local muralist Matt Callahan.The suspect, 34-year-old Keith Mauga of Tampa, already is serving five years for aggravated b...
Published: 09/18/18