Intoxication charge against SkyWest pilot is dismissed

AP News
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Posted: Nov 14, 2016 6:13 PM

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota has dismissed a criminal charge against a SkyWest Airlines pilot accused of being under the influence of alcohol before a flight at an airport in the state.

Pennington County Chief Deputy State's Attorney Lara Roetzel said Monday that the state filed for dismissal because a blood draw taken hours after a preliminary breath test showed no measurable alcohol in his system.

The 39-year-old pilot was arrested Oct. 26 at Rapid City Regional Airport after a security worker said the pilot smelled like alcohol and notified authorities. The pilot was arrested before passengers had boarded the 50-seat jet.

Although the breath test showed a level above the legal limit of 0.04 percent, that level had dissipated by the time his blood was drawn four hours later, Roetzel said. Breath test results are not admissible in court.

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The flight to Salt Lake City, Utah, with a passenger list of 45, was delayed for two hours until a new crew arrived. The airline based in St. George, Utah, issued a statement Monday saying the pilot was immediately grounded and remains on unpaid leave while the investigation continues.

Following his arrest, the pilot posted $300 bail and was released from jail.