December 1, 2004, 04:54 AM
Man sentenced to 5 years probation for assault
Warren man sentenced to 5 years probation for assault on flight
DETROIT (AP) - An airline passenger was sentenced to five years probation Tuesday for assaulting a flight attendant and another passenger aboard a flight bound for Detroit from Narita, Japan, U.S. Attorney Craig Morford announced.
Frank Sahutske, 48, of Warren pleaded guilty in June to one count of simple assault.
Sahutske, who was on a Northwest Airlines flight last November when the plane had to divert to Anchorage, Alaska, told FBI agents he couldn't remember what happened aboard the flight after he took two sleeping pills and drank four shots of whiskey.
He said his last memory was of waking up in handcuffs in the back seat of the police car, according to court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit.
Flight crew members said after Sahutske - who was returning from a business trip to China - drank the whiskey, he stood up, talked loudly, then grabbed the seat in front of him. Sahutske ignored requests by passengers, a flight attendant and a crew member to lower his voice, the criminal complaint says.
Sahutske was removed to a jump seat in the rear of the plane. He attempted to trip passengers, punched a passenger in the stomach and struck a flight attendant, Morford said.
The plane was diverted to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.
A message seeking comment was left Tuesday night at Sahutske's home.
As part of his probation, Sahutske was ordered to serve one year at a community corrections center and pay $57,900 in restitution to Eagan, Minn.-based Northwest for the cost of the delay, fuel and crew costs, Morford said. He also was ordered to write a minimum 15-page essay on the environmental impact of dumping 6,600 tons of fuel into the ocean, which the plane had to do to safely land in Alaska.
Sahutske also must write an individual apology letter to each of the 375 other passengers aboard the flight.
The Federal Aviation Administration also has assessed a $12,500 civil penalty against Sahutske.