Flying Too High – Sheriff Clarke Forced To Get Physical With Drunk Passenger


He should have been one of the last guys Milwaukee, WI resident Preston Bluntson, 36, would have wanted to pick a fight with. Alcohol can lead a man to do stupid things, including taunting and badgering his local Sheriff, David Clarke. Bluntson was aboard the same aircraft flying to Charlotte, NC, last Saturday when he recognized Clarke and his drunken idiocy got the better of him.

The outcome must have been a particularly hard pill for Bluntson to swallow, given he was arrested by Charlotte Mecklenburg police, a favorite target of late for the anti-law enforcement crowd of which he is a member. He made that clear in his description of Sheriff Clarke as being “not one of us.” Bluntson was charged with intoxicated and disruptive behavior.

passenger bluntson

Preston Bluntson

Clarke and his fellow passengers endured two hours of abuse throughout the flight from Milwaukee to Charlotte. A fellow passenger on the flight told the Journal Sentinel that “Bluntson became increasingly loud and disruptive, directing many comments at Clarke, who was at the back of the small plane. The guy was very abusive.” Sheriff Clarke got the last laugh.

The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office issued a press release stating that Sheriff Clarke intervened during the flight when Bluntson became profane and began harassing the flight crew and passengers.

They report “The sheriff left his seat…and told the man to ‘chill out.’…The man continued his obnoxious behavior and on approach to landing he got out of his seat…While the plane taxied to the gate he began taunting the sheriff, asking him what he was going to do about it.” Bluntson had his answer soon enough.

“Clarke ordered him to sit down and when he refused, Clarke shoved him face down, pinning him against one of the seats, holding him there until after the flight arrived at the gate.”

A Charlotte Police officer boarded the plane, handcuffed Bluntson and removed him, taking him to jail.

Sheriff Clarke issued a statement recommending that the incident be reviewed by the US Attorney’s Office to send a message of deterrence to other passengers who might be inclined to interfere with or attempt to intimidate other passengers or a flight crew. He also indicated  his belief that there should have been an air marshal on the flight to handle this type of situation rather than the responsibility falling to a passenger and the flight attendants.

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