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Kimberly Houk ReportingA witness to a volatile situation on board a Frontier Airlines flight from Denver to Salt Lake City says it was an over zealous biker, not abusive parents, who caused things to get ugly.
Derrick Pearson was sitting beside the mother and father, who admit they spanked their screaming little girl. He says a member of BACA (Bikers Against Child Abuse) stood up from behind the parents and took matters into his own hands.
This whole thing is turning into a ‘he said -- she said’ situation. The flight that was only supposed to take one hour turned into five hours, and to top it all off there was one screaming child and a spanking that's still causing some controversy.
Derrick Pearson: “The little girl slept for the first half hour while we sat there. And we were all joking, ‘man we missed a really good nap. We could've been home by now.’ But we never got off the ground."
A broken radio system and a big snowstorm in Denver kept the plane grounded. Derrick Pearson of Draper was sitting beside the parents of the little girl. He says the screaming two-year old was being passed back and forth between her parents.
Pearson: “As a mother, she's doing everything she can do. ‘Lacey please, we're going to get thrown off the plane, please. You've got to calm down.’"
Pearson says nothing would calm her down. At that point, Lacey was passed back to her father.
Pearson: “As he pulls her close, she's pulls away and is screaming, so he puts a hand over her mouth to get her attention, ‘Look you need to calm down. You need to stop this.’ And he popped her on the bottom, and she had a diaper on. It wasn't like he whacked her."
Paul Dubois, BACA: “We feel that if a child is getting spanked and it’s a mild spanking, it’s fine and we wouldn’t intervene.”
But a member of BACA did intervene.
Pearson: “He got up and grabbed the guy, and got close and got in his face and pulled him close. Here's a guy with his two-year old daughter - holding her, and he's buckled in his seat. And there's a biker standing over your shoulder with his hands on you, saying ‘Either you stop disciplining your child that way or I'm going to discipline you.’"
Darryl Sparti, BACA: “I would do it again. And if I hadn’t, my wife would have. I just happened to be sitting on the aisle.”
Mother: “He said if he threatened or hit the child again, he would have 11 bikers on his ass when the plane landed.”
Paul Debois, BACA: “Darryl said he couldn't take it anymore. It was becoming inappropriate. And Darryl's very calm, mild mannered, very meek. He's our computer web master."
Pearson: “You don’t do that on a plane, you don’t. And you don’t put your hands on another person.”
Pearson says the airline was justified in throwing off the family and the entire BACA group. There were also two other people wearing Harley Davidson shirts that were told to get off the plane.
BACA says they will be filing a discrimination lawsuit against Frontier Airlines.