Last updated: 10:21 AM ET, Thu October 27 2016

Airline Pilot Arrested in South Dakota for Allegedly Trying to Fly Drunk

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | October 27, 2016

Airline Pilot Arrested in South Dakota for Allegedly Trying to Fly Drunk

Photo via Thinkstock

On Wednesday, an airline pilot was arrested and charged in South Dakota for allegedly attempting to fly a plane while under the influence of alcohol.

According to, authorities were called to Rapid City Regional Airport in South Dakota when officials at the facility said 38-year-old pilot Russell Joseph Duszak arrived at 8 a.m. local time allegedly smelling of alcohol.

Duszak was scheduled to fly SkyWest Airlines Flight 4574 from South Dakota to Salt Lake City when authorities boarded the plane, removed the pilot and then arrested him for attempting to fly while drunk.

Eventually, the airline found a pilot who could take over the flight, but it didn’t depart from Rapid City until two hours later at around 10:30 a.m. local time. The airline issued a statement to the passengers saying they were dealing with “a crewmember issue.”

While SkyWest Airlines played the situation close to the vest, Rapid City Police Chief Karl Jegeris was far more open about the incident on his Twitter account:

Duszak has been barred from flying while the investigation into the incident continues. He was from the Pennington County Jail on $300 bail, and if convicted of the misdemeanor charge, he could be sentenced to a year in jail and forced to pay a $2,000 fine.

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