‘Intoxicated’ pilot arrested after landing on California parking lot

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 April, 2017, 3:26am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 April, 2017, 3:26am

California deputies responding to the emergency landing of a small plane in a warehouse parking lot arrested the pilot on suspicion of being under the influence, authorities said Tuesday.

The Piper Cherokee’s left wing clipped a stop sign, but the single-engine plane remained upright after it landed in the empty lot late Monday, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lt. Alex Villanueva.

As deputies talked to the pilot, they suspected he might be intoxicated and took him into custody, Villanueva said.

Darrell Roberts, the only person on board, could face a misdemeanour charge of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It wasn’t immediately known if he has an attorney.

Roberts, 58, got lost and was running out of fuel during a planned flight from Temecula, in Riverside County, to San Diego, about 60 miles (96.56 kilometres) south.

“He was headed in the wrong direction and somehow ended up here in LA County,” said Villanueva.

The plane landed in Whittier, a Los Angeles suburb about 70 miles (112.65 kilometres) north of where it took off.

“A DUI involving an airplane, that doesn’t happen very often,” Villanueva said.