SALT LAKE CITY — A Delta flight from Salt Lake City had to make an emergency landing in Oklahoma City after a drunk Utah man allegedly headbutted a flight attendant, officials confirm.
Derek Maas, of Clearfield, was taken into custody at Will Rogers Airport in Oklahoma City just after 1:45 a.m. Friday, according to The Oklahoman newspaper.
The captain of the plane, which was headed to Orlando, Florida, decided to have Maas removed from the flight to keep passengers and crew members safe, The Oklahoman reported.
Maas, 28, allegedly had asked for drinks on the flight. A flight attendant “could tell from (Maas’s) behavior that he was intoxicated,” and told the rest of his flight crew not to serve the man alcohol, The Oklahoman reported.
Maas had been drinking before the flight, Delta 2603, according to USA Today.
He became agitated when he was denied drinks on the plane, and later bargained with the flight attendant to be served two drinks, according to The Oklahoman. However, after downing them quickly, he demanded more, the newspaper said.
When flight crew members then denied him more drinks, Maas allegedly headbutted the flight attendant, said Sgt. Gary Knight, with the Oklahoma City Police Department. The attendant then hit Maas as several passengers tried to restrain the man, Knight added.
Maas eventually was restrained with zip-ties until the plane landed. He remained uncooperative with police and jail officials, The Oklahoman said. He was booked into jail for investigation of public intoxication about 9:25 a.m. Friday, according to USA Today.
Maas was no longer listed on the Oklahoma County Jail roster as of Saturday morning.
Airport officials have seen diversions for various reasons, usually involving weather, but unruly passengers "are pretty rare," said Karen Carney, spokesperson for Will Rogers World Airport.
In a statement to USA Today, Delta Airlines officials applauded the professionalism of the flight crew and said the flight continued to Orlando, arriving about two hours late.
Contributing: Ashton Goodell, KSL TV