College student, 21, arrested after disturbance on airliner Flight attendant injured, others allegedly struck on US Airways plane

December 18, 1997|By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan | Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan,SUN STAFF

A junior college student from Silver Spring was arrested yesterday on charges that he assaulted flight attendants on a US Airways plane coming into Baltimore-Washington International Airport on Tuesday night, shoving and hitting a crew member before he was tied up.

FBI agents arrested Dean William Trammel, 21, at his home at the 3500 block of Gentry Ridge Court at 12: 30 p.m. Trammel was charged in U.S. District Court in Baltimore with interfering with a flight crew. He could receive up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted, said Joseph Evans of the U.S. attorney's office.

Judge Paul M. Rosenberg released Trammel into the custody of Volunteers of America, a halfway house in Baltimore.

Barbara Skidmore, a pretrial services officer, told the judge that Trammel said he had taken LSD on Tuesday. The student was flying home from Santa Monica College in California, where he was a second-year student in the two-year school, Skidmore said.

Court records give this account of the incident:

About 7: 30 p.m., as Flight 38, which originated in Los Angeles and had 130 passengers on board, was about 70 miles from BWI, Trammel left his seat and went to the first-class area. He began "blessing" passengers and crew members, saying that the spirit of Jesus Christ was in him.

A short time after he was persuaded to return to his seat, the court records said, he went back to first class and indicated he was going to talk to the pilots. Flight attendants blocked the cockpit with a food service cart, and tried to persuade the man to again return to his seat.

A flight attendant was pushed, and two other US Airways employees traveling as passengers were struck. The attendant was thrown across seats and struck several times, the documents said. Trammel was restrained by the other employees and some passengers, and tied up for the rest of the flight.

After the flight landed about 8: 20 p.m., the attendant was taken to North Arundel Hospital, where she was treated and released.

Skidmore said Trammel told her he has been using LSD since 1995 and had taken some Tuesday. She also said Trammel said he had returned to Maryland to enroll in a college here.

Robert Taylor, Santa Monica football coach, said he was surprised at the incident. Taylor said he drove his player to the airport and noticed nothing unusual.

"This is out of character," he said. "He's a hell of a running back and one of the best."

The coach said he knew nothing about a drug problem and said he thought Trammel was going to graduate from Santa Monica in June.

Trammel's family defended him yesterday. A woman who said she was his sister was at the courthouse and said, "He's a good person." A woman who answered the phone later at his house said she was his stepmother. "He's a really good kid," she said.

Jane Goodman, spokeswoman for the Association of Flight Attendants in Washington, called the incident "a very dangerous situation for everyone in that plane."

"What if one of the flight attendants was disabled by the passenger in a situation like that and there was an emergency evacuation?" she said. "A flight attendant's job is to assist in the event of a dangerous situation."

Rick Weintraub, a spokesman for US Airways in Arlington, Va., declined to comment.

"We are cooperating fully with the authorities," Weintraub said.

Trammel is to appear in court tomorrow afternoon.

Pub Date: 12/18/97

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