Thu, Oct 27, 2005
Tells Judge: "It Saved My Life"
A Vacation Express pilot charged with trying to fly while under
the influence of alcohol said Wednesday he was grateful for his
arrest. "It saved my life," he said.
Scott Marvin Russell, 38, was the copilot on a Boeing 737 flight
from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, PA, to Myrtle Beach, SC, on May 12,
2004. As the aircraft taxied to the runway, he told the plane's
pilot that he was sick and needed to return to his hotel room.
Russell was later arrested after an FAA inspector told authorities
he smelled alcohol on the copilot's breath. Russell's blood alcohol
was as high as 0.13 percent, according to authorities. The FAA
prohibits anyone with a blood-alcohol content of higher than 0.04
"I am an alcoholic," Russell told
the judge Wednesday. He was quoted by the Wilkes-Barre Citizens
Voice. "I did not understand the grasp the disease had on me. I was
in complete denial of the situation.... I'm just fortunate that I
didn't hurt anyone."
Russell said he's been sober now for six months after
voluntarily entering an alcohol treatment program.
That admission aside, Russell could 15-years in prison and a
fine of $250,000. But prosecutors say they've made a deal with
Russell. Under the terms, he'll spend 8-14 months in prison. The
judge must still approve that arrangement.
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