Disruptive airline passenger gets four months in prison

Associated Press

ANCHORAGE — An Anchorage woman whose disruptive behavior caused a Seattle-bound plane to return here in July has been given a four-month prison sentence.

Passenger Norma Linda Lozano pleaded guilty in September to a federal felony count of interfering with a flight crew.

Lozano has been jailed since July, when the Continental Airlines plane on which she was traveling touched down in Anchorage and FBI agents took her into custody.

"I just want to say that I’m sorry," Lozano, 39, said Monday, addressing U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick before he handed down her sentence.

"I’m sorry if I hurt anybody, or scared anybody."

Seated in the gallery was the flight’s first officer, who Lozano punched in the face and bit on the forearm.

The on-board turmoil began about an hour into the flight, when Lozano, an Anchorage housekeeper, got into a loud argument with her boyfriend, the FBI said.

Along with assaulting the first officer, Lozano also yelled profanities and threw a full can of beer at a flight attendant, hitting her in the chest and splashing beer on nearby passengers.

Passengers eventually restrained her with trouser belts.

In September, Lozano said she didn’t remember what happened on the plane and that she was in a "blackout" from the peppermint schnapps and beer she drank before boarding the plane.

Hours after the plane landed, Lozano registered 0.113 percent blood alcohol in a blood test administered at the Sixth Avenue Jail, the FBI said. The legal standard for driving while intoxicated in Alaska is 0.10 percent.

"I don’t take what happened very lightly," Sedwick told Lozano.

Sedwick said Lozano’s behavior was fueled by alcohol and sentenced her to the "low end range" of possible prison time. She had faced up to 20 years in prison.

Sedwick also ordered her to pay restitution of $3,102.34 to Continental Airlines. Lozano also was ordered to serve three years of probation, meet face-to-face with her probation officer before getting on a plane and get treatment for alcohol and drug abuse and anger management.

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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