Live Interactive KFOR Radar

‘Unruly,’ intoxicated man on-board flight to Orlando, Florida ends up in Oklahoma County Jail

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

OKLAHOMA CITY - It was a headache for some passengers heading to Florida when their flight had to make an unexpected stop in Oklahoma City.

It's all because one man had a few too many drinks and things took a dangerous turn.

The suspect's original destination was Orlando, Florida but, instead, he ended up at the Oklahoma County Jail where an officer said he continued his "buffoonery."

"Because of the location of Will Rogers World Airport - kind of in the middle of the country, we do see a lot of diverts on an annual basis," said airport spokesperson Karen Carney. "Unruly passengers, though, are really pretty rare."

But, that was the case around 1:40 Friday morning.

A Delta flight from Salt Lake City to Orlando turned dangerous when police said 28-year-old Derek Maas got out of hand.

Maas, who witnesses said was already intoxicated, pleaded with flight attendants for two more drinks - claiming it would help him go to sleep. When they cut him off after that - authorities said he was anything but sleepy.

"It was a profanity-laced tirade he went on," said MSgt. Gary Knight with the Oklahoma City Police Department.

Witnesses said Maas began calling flight attendants obscenities - even turning violent.

"And, then, at one point, he actually headbutted one of the flight attendants, a male flight attendant. A fight ensued between flight attendants, some of the passengers and the disruptive passenger."

At that point, the flight was about 40 miles outside of Oklahoma City, and the pilot chose to land - for the safety of everyone on board.

When police got there, they found Maas handcuffed with zip-ties and learned more about what led up to the ordeal.

"He had had a lot to drink by the time he even boarded the flight," Knight said.

Maas revealed to authorities, before boarding the flight, he had five shots of bourbon whiskey in addition to the two drinks he had in the air.

"He was extremely intoxicated," Knight said.

The airline released a statement:

“Delta applauds the quick action and professionalism of the crew of Delta flight 2603 operating from Salt Lake City to Orlando which diverted to Oklahoma City after a customer became unruly and violent on board. The crew restrained the customer and the flight was met by law enforcement in Oklahoma City, where he was removed and taken into custody. The flight continued to Orlando, arriving two hours past schedule. The safety and security of our customers and crew are always Delta’s top priority.”

Maas was booked into the Oklahoma County Jail on public drunk charges but, because of his actions on the plane, he's also under investigation by Homeland Security and the FBI.

The plane landed in Florida two hours later than schedule.

Delta said they don't have any details on compensation for passengers at this time.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.