David Hans Arntson Pleads Not Guilty to Drunk Airline Piloting

UPDATE, FEB. 16, 4 P.M.: David Hans Arntson pleaded not guilty at his post-indictment arraignment in federal court in Los Angeles. The case was also transferred to the federal courthouse in Santa Ana, where a March 28 pretrial conference will be held. An April 5 trial date was set, too.

ORIGINAL POST, FEB. 12, 6:31 A.M.: A 60-year-old Newport Beach man has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles for allegedly operating an Alaska Airlines passenger plane while under the influence of alcohol.

David Hans Arntson was arrested last month on the federal felony charge and released on a $25,000 bond, the U.S. Attorney’s office said at the time.

Arntson had been an Alaska Airlines pilot on June 20, 2014, for a flight from San Diego to Portland, Oregon, and a second from Portland to John Wayne Airport.

He was selected for random drug and alcohol testing by Alaska Airlines after landing at Santa Ana, and one test showed him with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.134 percent and second came up at 0.142 percent, according to the federal complaint, which notes the pilot of a commercial carrier is presumed to be under the influence when his or her BAC is 0.10 percent or higher.

“Those in command of passenger jets, or any other form of public transportation, have an obligation to serve the public in the safest and most responsible way possible,” says Eileen M. Decker, the U.S. Attorney in LA. “We cannot and will not tolerate those who violate the trust of their passengers by endangering lives.”

Arntson, who retired from Alaska Airlines, faces up to 15 years in federal prison if convicted.

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