Joseph Daniel Hudek IV first made headlines back in July for an irate outburst he had on a Delta Airlines flight from Seattle to Beijing. On that July 6 flight, Hudek became so violent and out of control that passengers and flight attendants had to work together to subdue him.
And in an affidavit released this week, Hudek finally issued his official excuse for his behavior: he got too high eating edibles.
It’s true: an edibles high can be an overwhelming experience. And it can sometimes sneak up on you, taking your system by surprise. Making a long story short, the body processes and absorbs THC through a different pathway when you eat it. And the result can often be an unusually intense high.
But that kind of high will more likely land you in a catatonic state, not impel you to open an emergency exit on a fully loaded flight over the Pacific, then attack the people trying to stop you.
Delta Passenger Says Edibles Made Him Freak Out, Attack Passengers
Nevertheless, that’s what Joseph Hudek IV is claiming made him try to bail out of his Delta flight while at thousands of feet in the air.
“My understanding is that it was legal to buy and consume marijuana in the state,” he wrote in the affidavit. “After purchasing the edible marijuana, I ate it.”
That was just before Hudek took off from Seattle. Of course, recreational weed is legal in Washington. He also said he had a beer before boarding the airplane.
The 23-year-old was flying first-class. An hour into his flight, he took a trip to the restroom. And soon, things were flying off the rails.
After first going into the restroom, Hudek was soon out, trying to ask a flight attendant a question. Then, he re-entered the restroom. After a few minutes Hudek emerged, having taken off his shirt. Then, he screamed, “I want to get out!,” and lunged for the emergency exit door.
Flight attendants immediately pounced on Hudek, trying to subdue him. One radioed to the cockpit, and the plane began to turn around back to Seattle.
For several minutes Hudek violently attacked passengers and flight attendants. Reports say Hudek hit one passenger in the face several times, then punched a flight attendant. Hudek also struck another passenger in the head with a wine bottle.
One crew member decided to repay in kind and broke a red wine bottle over Hudek’s head. But the young man was unfazed by the move. Instead, he turned and shouted, “Do you know who I am?,” another flight attendant said.
Eventually, a group of passengers and crew members were able to subdue Hudek. Police took him into custody when the plane landed back at Seattle Tacoma International Airport, and he was charged with assault and interfering with a flight crew.
Did An Edible Make A Delta Passenger Punch His Flight Attendant?
“I have never had a remotely similar incident in all my times of flying on an airplane,” Hudek asserted.
It’s popular lore that alcohol and other drugs have more potent effects on flights due to the high altitude (and lower air pressure). Still, a deranged, violent outburst caused by cannabis sounds more like a myth straight out of Reefer Madness than a real possibility.
However, Hudek’s testimony has the backing of his doctor. In the same affidavit, Hudek’s doctor said that cannabis could induce “paranoia, confusion, hallucinations and combativeness.” But did an edible make a Delta passenger punch his flight attendant?
Supposedly, it did. At least according to the courts. Hudek’s doctor’s testimony, combined with character statements from family and friends, persuaded Magistrate Judge James Donohue to release Hudek under his mother’s supervision.
That poses a slight problem for Hudek, however. His mother lives in Tampa, and Hudek isn’t allowed to fly there. Instead, he’ll have to drive or take a bus or train. He is also forbidden from using cannabis.
Even though Hudek is out of jail now, he’s due back in court for trial on February 22, 2018. Hudek is facing serious felony charges. His assault against crew and passengers could land him 20 years in prison. And he faces another 10 for related charges, according to the Seattle Times.