Federal Charge For Man Accused Of Forcing Flight Diversion To Tulsa
TULSA, Oklahoma - Federal prosecutors filed a single charge against the man accused of causing a disturbance on a Delta flight that caused it to divert to Tulsa on Wednesday.
Prosecutors filed one felony count of interference with flight crew and attendants against Bolutife Olusegun Olorunda, 29.
Delta Airlines flight 1156 had taken off from Portland, Oregon en route to Atlanta when the flight crew declared an emergency and diverted to Tulsa International, landing at about 11:30 a.m. on May 30, 2018.
"The captain determined it was necessary to divert the flight to Tulsa. The man was taken into custody without any issue," said U.S. District Attorney Trent Shores.
According to the complaint filed in federal court Thursday, a flight attendant approached Olorunda about his "erratic and disruptive behavior." The complaint says he was singing and screaming. When a flight attendant attempted to talk to him, he replied in a threatening tone and manner, saying "Don't touch me and if you touch me again you will regret it," the complaint says.
"Any time an individual acts in a manor where a plane has to be diverted is something we take very seriously," Shores said.
The flight attendant asked for help from other passengers if Olorunda became violent and informed the captain about what was happening, according to the complaint. The captain declared an emergency and received clearance to divert to Tulsa.
"People need to understand that when a flight crew member or anyone gives you direction on a plane, that you need to abide by those directions," Shores said.
The complaint says two Federal Air Marshals were on the flight and while one protected the cockpit the other tried to calm Olorunda down. The marshal tried to remove his headphones to make sure he understood what she was requesting, but he flailed his arms around and ignored her commands, the complaint says.
Eventually she got him to calm down and once the flight landed in Tulsa, Tulsa Police arrested him.
"Folks need to know that the federal, state and local law enforcement officials are working diligently to ensure that airline travel is safe and secure, and in this instance, I think it shows," said Shores.
Olorunda is being held without bond in the Tulsa County Jail.
In court Thursday, Olorunda heard the charge against him and was appointed a lawyer. He's due in court next week for a bail and preliminary hearing.
If convicted, Olorunda could face a maximum punishment of up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Officials said there is no link to terrorism and no threat to national security.
Federal immigration and Homeland Security investigators are looking into his immigration status.
Read the federal complaint: