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Crazed Delta Passenger Who Tried To Open Emergency Door Mid-Flight Identified

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The first-class passenger who attacked flight attendants and several passengers while trying to open an exit door mid-flight last week has been identified as Joseph Daniel Hudek IV.

What Happened?

Hudek is the son of a Delta airlines employee. He was flying first class on a discounted “dependent pass” from Seattle to Beijing last Thursday when he attempted to open an exit door mid-flight. When an employee tried to stop him, he struck her in the face and began to fight with other passengers who tried to restrain. Ultimately, passengers were forced to hit him over the head with two wine bottles to subdue him.

His rampage caused the flight to divert back to Washington roughly an hour after takeoff.

Hudek now faces a felony charge of interfering with a flight crew, which carries a possible sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

One flight attendant and a passenger were taken to a hospital after suffering severe facial injuries, according to authorities.

The Tampa, Florida, native appeared in US District Court on Friday.

Hudek’s mother, Linda Hudek, is a customer service representative and reservation agent at Delta, according to her Facebook profile. According to the airline’s employee benefits, dependent children fly for free, although some government or airport fees apply for international travel.

A probable cause statement written by FBI special agent Caryn Highley said Hudek was sitting in the first row of the Boeing 767’s first-class section. Roughly an hour into the flight, he went to the restroom, came out and asked the attendant a question and stepped back in. When he emerged two minutes later, he suddenly lunged for the exit door and tried to open it, according to Highley.

Two flight attendants grabbed him, but he pushed them away. They then called for help from the passengers and notified the cockpit. Hudek punched one flight attendant twice in the face and struck at least one passenger in the head with a red dessert wine bottle, the documents said.

One passenger who did not want to be named told KIRO7: “I tried to choke him and he just threw me off like a rag doll.”

Highley wrote that one flight attendant then hit Hudek over the head with two wine bottles.

According to one flight attendant, “Hudek did not seem impacted by the breaking of a full liter red wine bottle over his head, and instead shouted, ‘Do you know whoI am?’ or something to that extent,” the complaint said.


Joseph Daniel Hudek IV

Joseph Daniel Hudek IV is a 23-year-old son of Delta Airlines employee Linda Hudek. He was flying from Seattle to Beijing on a dependent first-class ticket to see a friend when he attempted to open the emergency door mid-flight. He then struck a flight attendant in the face as well as another passenger before being subdued by passengers and crew.

Hudek now faces a felony charge of interfering with a flight crew, which carries a possible sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

His grandfather told Q13: “He’s a great kid, he’s a real good guy; he works hard, saves his money, I don’t know what happened. this is so out of character of him, I can’t believe it,” Hudek said.

COED Writer
A New York native & proud couch potato who loves all things pop culture. I can usually be found writing, making videos and ranking all the warriors in "Game of Thrones" based on their fighting prowess.