Was Readying To Fly From Minneapolis To New York City In January
An American Eagle pilot who failed a pre-flight alcohol screening and was arrested January 4 has been charged with three gross misdemeanors in Minnesota's Hennepin County District Court.
Kolbjorn Jarle Kristiansen had been preparing to fly an American Eagle flight from Minneapolis to New York City on January 4. He was with a group of four pilots in the terminal around 0530 CST that was passed by a TSA agent and airport police who said they smelled alcohol as they walked by the group. It was determined that the 48-year-old Kristiansen's blood alcohol level was 0.107 ... which is more than double the legal limit for pilots. He admitted he had be drinking the night before.
The Associated Press reports that Kristiansen, who lives in Raleigh, NC, has been charged with three counts that are associated with attempting to operate an airplane under the influence of alcohol. Each carries a maximum one-year prison sentence and $3,000 fine. He has been under suspension by American Eagle since his arrest.
A U.S. Attorney's office spokeswoman in Minnesota said that the case was being prosecuted at the state level because it allows charges to be brought for attempting to fly an airplane under the influence. Federal law only recognizes a crime if the operation of an aircraft actually takes place.