SEATTLE (AP) – An airline pilot accused of stealing a man’s rental car during a bizarre encounter has been arrested.
The 43-year-old pilot from charter airline Omni Air was arrested Saturday night for investigation of vehicle theft and DUI, King County sheriff’s Sgt. Cindi West said Monday.
A Bainbridge, Wash., man told police he got into his rental car at a hotel near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and a stranger climbed into the back seat. When the victim asked the stranger what he was doing in the car, the man replied, “You know, you know,” West said.
The victim pointed a handgun at the intruder and told him to get out, officials said. After a scuffle in which the man struck the intruder several times with the handgun, West said the man got out and the intruder chased him around the car.
The intruder then jumped into the driver’s seat and drove off, she said. Officers found the car and a bloody man in a nearby parking lot.
Jeff Crippen, president and CEO of Omni Air, told The Seattle Times he didn’t have the full report but planned a thorough investigation. The name of the pilot was not released.
“We want to emphasize that the crewmember was off duty at the time of the incident and was not scheduled to report for duty for 12 hours,” airline communications director Jeff Staton told the Associated Press by email. “The crewmember is currently on suspension while the facts are being investigated.”
The pilot, from Tulsa, Okla., had been scheduled to fly to Tokyo on Sunday morning, West said. The flight was delayed 24 hours and took off Monday morning for Japan, said airport spokesman Perry Cooper.
Omni Air’s Staton confirmed that a replacement crewmember handled the delayed flight.
The Federal Aviation Administration said it was investigating.
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