LARGO — A plane that was about to take off had to return to the gate at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport on Monday after an intoxicated passenger made inappropriate comments and scared other passengers, authorities say.
Bradley James Radtke, 59, was aboard an Allegiant Air flight to North Carolina around 6:40 p.m., when he began acting in a defiant, strange manner, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.
"He was being loud and boisterous, making profane and inappropriate comments to other people on the plane," said Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda.
The crew decided to turn the plane around as it taxied to the runway and refused to let him fly. Radtke, who used a wheelchair to board the plane, ignored a deputy's requests to help him off the plane, Barreda said. Radtke was then reluctantly escorted from the plane to a wheelchair by the deputy and an airport operations supervisor, she said.
The deputy, who initially intended to document the incident but not immediately arrest Radtke, asked him if there was anyone who could pick him up. But Radtke continued to be "belligerent" and "profane" so the deputy called for backup while he filled out paperwork to charge him with disorderly intoxication, Barreda said.
Radtke got out of the wheelchair and began kicking the other deputy who responded, Barreda said. The second deputy, who was kicked twice in the left leg, sustained minor injuries, according to the arrest report.
Radtke, who lives in Iva, S.C., was arrested on a charge of disorderly intoxication in a public place and on a felony charge of battery on a law enforcement officer.
Tuesday afternoon, he was being held in lieu of $2,600 bail in the health care facility at the Pinellas County Jail.
Thomas Jewsbury, the airport's deputy director, said it's up to the pilot whether passengers fly in such cases.
"Whether or not he wants that passenger to fly," Jewsbury said, "it's his sole discretion, once the individual is on the aircraft."
Lorri Helfand can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4155.