Chicago Passenger Charged With Hitting Flight Attendant, Forcing Emergency Landing

A flight from Miami to Chicago was forced to make an unscheduled stop in Indianapolis Monday evening after an unruly female passenger hit a flight attendant

A woman accused of hitting a flight attendant faces charges after authorities said she forced a Chicago-bound flight to make an unscheduled stop Monday in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Daniela Velez-Reyes of Chicago was arrested and charged with battery with injury, battery without injury, battery on a public safety officer, criminal recklessness, and two felony counts of disorderly conduct and disruption of operation of an aircraft, according to police.

American Airlines Flight 1284 was diverted around 6 p.m. after a flight attendant tried to gently subdue Velez-Reyes' loud mid-flight outburst by restraining her until the plane landed as planned in Miami, but instead the woman struck the crew member, police said.

Brian Wood, who was also a passenger on the flight, captured the woman being hauled off the plane by police on his cellphone.

“It was just a lot of screaming, yelling,” Wood said. “I thought it was a kid crying in the back [at first], but it ended up being [her]. She was kind of being belligerent, drunk on the plane.”

Indianapolis Police
Daniela Velez-Reyes

Passengers told NBC Chicago they were first alerted of the situation from an in-flight announcement, asking those onboard to buckle up as they would be making a diversion to remove the woman from the plane.

In the video the woman can be heard spewing “nonsense,” most say, before she asks officials to “call her mom.”

“Most of it was profanity,” said Karen Moersch. “It just was very disturbing, and you just feel really bad for her.”

The woman was removed from the plane by Indianapolis Airport Police and the FBI and TSA are investigating the incident.

“Apparently during the process she also kicked one of the airport police,” said Jeff Dutton of the Indianapolis Airport Police Department.

The flight continued on its way to Chicago shortly after 7 p.m.

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