JetBlue flight attendant faces 7 years for losing cool

Posted by Rachel Leigh - email

QUEENS, NY (WFLX) - The JetBlue flight attendant who lost his cool is the talk of the town.

The attendant cursed at passengers, stole some beer and triggered the emergency escape slide Monday. The next day, however, Steven Slater was all smiles.

In criminal court, the 38-year-old flight attendant, now suspended by JetBlue, pleaded not guilty to reckless endangerment, criminal mischief and trespassing for his alleged actions aboard Flight 1052.

Passenger, Phil Catelinet, claims, "He swore at a passenger."

Slater's attorney says the trouble on Monday's flight started in Pittsburgh when two female passengers fought over space in the overhead compartment. "He came over to assist. She started cursing and slammed the overhead luggage bin on his head."

Once on the ground in New York, the same passenger reportedly cursed out Slater when she couldn't get her bag right away.

Passengers say Slater then got on the plane's PA system and said, "To the passenger who called me a 'blank, blank, blank you.'"

He then said, "That's it. I'm done."

With that, he opened the exit door, deployed the plane's evacuation slide, grabbed two beers and jumped. "Everybody has a bad day and fantasizes about telling their boss to take this job and shove it, but you don't want to do it and get arrested,"

But it was no joke at Slater's arraignment. The district attorney told the judge, Slater could have injured or killed a member of the ground crew by deploying the powerful slide.

A friend of Slater's says he's been under a lot of stress because his mother has cancer. She defended his actions as did his ex-wife. "I understand why he lost it. I would have lost it, too."

Slater could face seven years in prison if convicted.

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