Philippe Patricio Says He Didn't Steal Plane And Fly Drunk
The 20-year-old man who made headlines last June by allegedly
stealing a C172 and taking two friends on a wayward three-hour
nighttime flight -- while drunk -- pleaded not guilty to the
charges against him Wednesday in a New York courtroom.
According to media reports, Phillippe Patricio entered the plea
against felony charges of possession of stolen property and
reckless endangerment, and a misdemeanor charge of resisting
arrest, for his June 22 after hours landing in Westchester, NY.
Patricio's blood-alcohol level was .15 when he landed, according
to New York officials. He is currently being held without bond.
Attorney Edward Camacho, who is representing Patricio, said the
case has been blown out of proportion in today's security-sensitive
climate. "The case is being handled more harshly that it would have
been handled had it occurred before 9/11," he said.
"I think there is a bit of hysteria surrounding this case and I
think that has affected most everyone who has decided what to do
with him in the court system," said Camacho. "If this was 1999 or
2000, I think this matter would be addressed entirely
Westchester County DA
Jeanine Pirro maintains the case against Patricio does involve
"national security," as Patricio broke into the Danbury (CT)
Municipal Airport after hours and gained access to an aircraft. She
said she would "expect the criminal justice system to react in a
way consistent with the danger posed here."
As was previously reported in Aero-News,
Phillipe Patricio also faces several charges in Connecticut,
including one felony charge of circumventing airport security, and
misdemeanors of first-degree reckless endangerment and operating an
aircraft under the influence.
Patricio's 16-year-old passengers, Andrew Mentsch and Thomas
Cascio III, were previously granted accelerated rehabilitation by a
Danbury judge for their roles in the ordeal. Each faced a single
count of circumventing airport security.