Man to plead guilty for forcing jet to divert to Pittsburgh

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A Utah man is scheduled to plead guilty to interfering with a flight crew on a New York-bound US Airways jet that had to be diverted to Pittsburgh.

A change-of-plea hearing for 40-year-old Steven Pectol, of Mapleton, is set for Thursday in Pittsburgh federal court.

Authorities alleged Pectol behaved bizarrely aboard the red-eye flight from Phoenix on Oct. 11.

They say he began throwing his belongings, talking to himself and heading toward the cabin door. Passengers helped flight attendants subdue Pectol until he could be placed in plastic handcuffs and his legs restrained with a seat belt used to demonstrate safety at the beginning of the flight.

A criminal complaint says he kicked the people who were trying to restrain him.

He has been in custody since then.