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Press Release

California man facing federal charge for interfering with a flight crew

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico
Flight from Dallas to Burbank diverted into Albuquerque due to in-flight disturbance

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Samson Hardridge, 33, of Lancaster, California, made an initial appearance in federal court on Feb. 23 facing a charge of interference with flight crew members and attendants. Hardridge will remain in custody pending a detention hearing scheduled for Feb. 25.

According to a criminal complaint, on Feb. 18, Hardridge was a passenger on Southwest Flight 474 from Dallas to Burbank. After takeoff, Hardridge allegedly left his seat to use the lavatory at the back of the plane. A flight attendant asked Hardridge to stand in the aisle of the aircraft since the galley was too small. Hardridge allegedly had his hands in his pants and asked if the flight attendant wanted to see his penis. The flight attendant declined and again requested that Hardridge remain on the carpeted area of the aisle.

Hardridge allegedly proceeded to the door near the rear galley of the aircraft and began urinating in the corner. A second flight attendant informed Hardridge he could not urinate there and Hardridge allegedly became very hostile. Hardridge allegedly yelled and threatened the flight attendants and infringed on their personal space.

Hardridge was asked to take his seat. Out of concern for their safety as well as that of the other passengers, one of the flight attendants informed the pilot of the situation and the flight was diverted into Albuquerque.

A complaint is only an allegation. A defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Hardridge faces up to 20 years in prison.

The FBI Albuquerque Field Office investigated this case. Assistant United States Attorney Presiliano Torrez is prosecuting the case.

Updated February 24, 2022

Press Release Number: 22-38