Delta pilot jailed after trying to fly 767 from Edinburgh to New York while drunk

Delta pilot jailed
By Linsey McNeill
20/03/2024
Home » Delta pilot jailed after trying to fly 767 from Edinburgh to New York while drunk

A pilot who attempted to fly a plane from Edinburgh to New York while more than twice over the legal alcohol limit has been jailed for 10 months.

Captain Lawrence Russell Jr, a 63-year-old American, was sentenced at Edinburgh Sheriff Court after he pleaded guilty in March to reporting for duty while being impaired through alcohol.

The court heard that the Delta Airlines pilot was stopped from boarding a Boeing 767 he was due to fly from to JFK in New York on 16 June last year after a bag search found two bottles of Jägermeister in his hand luggage, one of which was half empty.

He was arrested after a breath test revealed he was over the legal fly limit and a blood sample he gave in custody showed he had not less than 49mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood, while the legal limit for a pilot is 40mg.

His defence agent Pamela Rodgers told the court that her client was a recovering alcoholic, who had been sober for 277 days prior to the incident.

The court heard that he also has two previous convictions for driving while under the influence of alcohol in the US.

Lynne Barrie, Procurator Fiscal for Lothian and Borders, said: “Lawrence Russell’s conduct would have endangered many lives; the consequences could have been catastrophic.

“He showed a reckless disregard for the safety of his passengers and crew. The pilot of a commercial aircraft holds the lives of hundreds in his hands. He would have put all of them at serious risk.

“This conviction should send the message that crimes of this nature will be robustly dealt with.”

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