Charges Dropped Against Pilot For Operating Aircraft While Intoxicated

Oct 26, 2016

UPDATE:   A criminal charge against a SkyWest Airlines pilot accused of being under the influence of alcohol before a flight at a South Dakota airport has been dismissed.

The Pennington County State's Attorney’s office filed for dismissal of the case because blood drawn from the pilot hours after a preliminary breath test showed no measurable alcohol in his system.

The 39-year-old pilot was arrested Oct. 26 at Rapid City Regional Airport after a security worker noticed he smelled like alcohol and notified authorities. The pilot was arrested before passengers had boarded.

Officials say breath test results are not admissible in court.

The original story below was published October 26th, 2016.

Rapid City Police Department officials say a Skywest Airlines pilot was arrested October 26 for operating an aircraft under the influence of alcohol.

Rapid City Police Department officials say the incident happened around 8 am Wednesday.
Credit Rapid City Police Department

Russel Duszak of Salt Lake City, Utah was arrested by Regional Airport police officers after a TSA officer called in to report the pilot smelled of alcohol.

Brendyn Medina is with the RCPD. He says Duszak blew above a .04 BAC, which violates the South Dakota legal limit for pilots.

“Out at the airport we have officers stationed out there and they work closely with the TSA Agents out there, the number one priority is always public safety when you talk about air travel in the airport, obviously that was preserved today,” says Medina.

Officials say the plane’s crew was changed and passengers were able to fly out of Rapid City a couple hours after the arrest without further incident.