2010-10-22 / Top Stories

No Jail Time For Errant BH Flight Attendant

By Howard Schwach

Slater on the beach in front of his Belle Harbor home. Slater on the beach in front of his Belle Harbor home. The Belle Harbor flight attendant, who allegedly cursed out a Jet Blue passenger, grabbed two beers and exited the plane via an emergency chute, cut a deal with Queens District Attorney Richard Brown on Tuesday, trading his freedom for a guilty plea on two counts and undergo a counseling program for both his anger and his substance abuse.

He will enter the mental health and substance abuse counseling program in the near future. Court sources say that all charges will be dismissed when he successfully completes the course.

After he completes the program, sources say, he will have to serve one year of probation. Should he not successfully complete the program, he could be sentenced to one to three years in prison.

Brown said, “At his last court appearance, the defendant requested to be evaluated for participation in a court-supervised alternative sentencing program to address possible mental health and co-occurring substance or alcohol abuse issues, among others. I believe that the defendant finally has recognized the seriousness of his actions and is willing to accept responsibility. Under the circumstances, today’s disposition, which includes reimbursement to JetBlue in the sum of $10,000, fairly balances the seriousness of the charges against the need for the defendant’s rehabilitation.”

Slater appeared Tuesday morning in Queens Supreme Court before Justice Marcia P. Hirsch and entered a conditional plea of guilty to attempted second-degree criminal mischief, a Class E felony punishable by up to four years in prison and attempted forth-degree criminal mischief, a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail.

He was conditionally sentenced to one to three years of incarceration. However, as part of his plea agreement, Slater will enroll in the District Attorney’s mental health alternative sentencing program and reimburse JetBlue the sum of $10,000, which represents the esti- mated cost of replacing or repairing the escape chute, among other expenses. Slater became an international overnight sensation when, ending a flight from Pittsburgh to John F. Kennedy Airport, had an altercation with a passenger, cursed the female passenger, grabbed two beers, activated the emergency exit slide and slid to freedom, returning to his Belle Harbor home.

At the time, when charges were brought against Slater, Brown said, “The emergency chute deploys at 3,000 pounds per square inch within seconds and could easily injure or kill ground crews or others on the tarmac who are unaware the chute has been activated. This would have been a far different arraignment if someone had been standing under the emergency chute when it deployed.”

According to the charges, Slater was aboard Jet Blue Flight 1052 on Monday, August 9, 2010, at approximately 12:15 p.m., when he is alleged to have activated the aircraft emergency escape slide on door R-2, following an alleged incident involving a passenger.

Published reports say that Slater’s meltdown began when an unidentified passenger stood up to get her carry-on bag out of the storage over the seats before the plane had stopped moving.

When Slater told the passenger to sit down, the passenger reportedly cursed out the flight attendant.

The passenger pulled open the door, which hit Slater on the forehead, causing a large scratch. Slater allegedly took to the plane’s intercom system to curse out the passenger.

“To the F____king asshole that told me to F___k off, it’s been a good 28 years,” Slater reportedly said.

He then grabbed his two flight bags and two cans of beer and activated the emergency exit slide, throwing his bags on the slide and following them to the ground.

He jumped on the AirTrain and retrieved his car, driving to his Belle Harbor home.

Slater reportedly was in bed with his male partner when the police arrived to take him into custody.

Neighbors of his Beach 128 Street home were startled when specialized police units and helicopters, responding to a call of an emotionally disturbed person, suddenly inundated the block.

A number of social media outlets quickly made Slater into a media hero.

“How many of us have wanted to say, ‘Take this job and shove it,’ ” asked Joanna Molloy in her Daily News blog. “Slater did it and did it with flair, cursing back over the plane’s public address system at the obnoxious passenger who conked him on the head with a suitcase.”

All in all, more than 50,000 “friends” have left postings on his Face Book “wall.”

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