A woman passenger allegedly assaulted several passengers and a flight attendant yesterday on AirTran Flight 904 while it was en route from Atlanta to Newport News with 116 passengers and a crew of five. TV station WAVY identifies the alleged assailant as Florida resident Valjean Marguriet, and reports that she was indicted earlier today by a federal grand jury on one count of interference with a flight attendant, a felony, and two counts of misdemeanor assault.
According to court documents, during the flight, Marguriet assaulted a fellow passenger by grabbing and shaking her arm. Marguriet also struck a flight attendant in his face and interfered with his duties.WAVY quoted Marsha Johnson, a passenger who had been sitting next to Ms. Marguriet on the plane.
She says the woman was perfectly fine and friendly, at first, but a few gin an tonics and the woman began to change. "I could see the alcohol getting to her. As we talked, the mood changed," Johnson recalls it changed for the worse.The unruly passenger was arrested when the flight arrived at Newport News.
"She just all of a sudden went off the handle," and Johnson it got worse when the lady started yelling, "well she called me a man. You're a man, You're a man!" Johnson says the woman shouted, just before she hit her several times. "She grabbed my arm," commented Johnson.
Flight attendants rushed to help Johnson and others who were hit by the woman. "They tried to talk to the lady, she would not be subdued, so the attendants restrained her," said passenger Donna Hypse. She says the woman's behavior made everyone very uncomfortable and even frightened some passengers, but the flight attendants had the situation under control. "they were outstanding. They controlled the situation. we never felt in danger," said Hypse.
If convicted, Marguriet could be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the felony interference charge, as well as 6 months in prison and fines of $5,000 for each assault charge.