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Thursday
Sep192019

Video shows Delta pilot charged with trying to fly while intoxicated before arrest

LETG Jail(MINNEAPOLIS) -- New surveillance video appears to show the "suspicious" movements of a pilot, who is now accused of trying to fly a plane while intoxicated, moments before he made his way onto a Delta Airlines aircraft preparing for takeoff.

The edited video from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport was obtained by ABC News on Wednesday.

The footage was taken on July 30 and shows the pilot, identified in court documents as Gabriel Lyle Schroeder, 37, of Rosemount, Minnesota, walking up to a screening area with his luggage, leaving and heading into a restroom and then returning to the screening area to have his bag checked.

Officials told ABC News in July that he'd turned around and removed himself from the security line when he noticed Transportation Security Administration agents were conducting additional screenings for crew members.

According to court documents, when Schroeder reached the screening area around 10:30 a.m. for the first time on July 30, he "appeared surprised," airport authorities said.

When TSA workers approached him and asked him to put his bag on the table for screening, he told the officers "that he was not ready to be screened and left the area." Officers then reported his "suspicious activity" to TSA police because they feared that he may have a prohibited item in his bag.

Detectives were unable to find Schroeder, according to court documents, but were later told by other TSA authorities that he had been in a restroom. When officers entered the restroom, they "located an unopened 1.75-liter bottle of Philips Vodka in the lone trash container," court documents said.

Detectives found Schroeder in the cockpit of Airbus A321 at Gate G-3. He was seated in the first officer's chair and operating the console of the aircraft while talking to the captain of the aircraft. The plane was scheduled to fly to San Diego, according to an airport spokesperson.

"Detectives observed that the plane already had two passengers on board. Detectives asked Defendant if they could speak with him in the rear of the aircraft. ... When asked, Defendant stated that he had last consumed alcohol three days prior," court documents said.

One of the airport detectives reported that there was a light odor of a consumed alcoholic beverage on Schoeder's breath.

When the detectives asked him questions, he also allegedly told them that he had not entered a restroom and that he only went to the Delta crew room.

"When questioned further, Defendant stated that he might have gone to the restroom, but denied discarding a bottle of alcohol in the trash," court documents said.

Schroeder was given several sobriety tests including a Breathalyzer, which provided a reading of .065 BAC, according to authorities. He was arrested. He was removed by police 20 minutes before takeoff, according to an airport spokesperson.

"Once we got to the plane, they said 'Hold up! Hold up!" passenger John Wybest told ABC News affiliate ABC10.com in San Diego in July. "For a pilot, he looked a little disheveled. He had ... dire need of ironing, sloppy look. The other pilot looked like he walked out of GQ."

After he was arrested, Schroeber also gave a blood sample. He allegedly admitted to owning the vodka bottle in the restroom trash and leaving the screening area to dispose of it. He also allegedly admitted to drinking a can of beer as well as three vodka drinks at his house the previous night.

"The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension – Forensic Science Laboratory examined Defendant’s blood sample and determined that Defendant had an ethyl alcohol concentration of .027 in his system at 1:10 p.m. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension also performed a retrograde extrapolation and determined that at the time the Defendant was in the cockpit, he had an ethanol concentration between .04 and .08," court documents said.

Pilots face a strict blood alcohol level restrictions, with .04 being considered illegal. The maximum sentence for both is 0-1 year imprisonment and/or 0-$3000 fine.

A Delta spokesperson told ABC News in July that Delta had hired another pilot to complete the trip and passengers arrived in San Diego with a one-hour delay.

"Delta's alcohol policy is among the strictest in the industry and we have no tolerance for violation," Delta Airlines said previously. "Delta is cooperating with local authorities in their investigation."

ABC News could not reach Schroeder for comment.

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