American Eagle pilot charged with trying to fly while drunk

6:28 AM, Apr 10, 2013   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - A pilot for American Eagle has been charged with operating or attempting to operate an aircraft while under the influence of alcohol after being arrested at Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport in January.

Hennepin County prosecutors charged 48-year-old Kolbjorn Jarle Kristiansen in connection with the January 4 incident, during which airport employees smelled  alcohol on the pilot as he waited to board an elevator.

MSP Airport Police found Kristiansen just before 6 a.m. trying to board his aircraft and arrested him before he could take off for LaGuardia Airport in New York. A preliminary breath test revealed a .107 breath alcohol concentration (BAC).

Subsequent blood tests revealed that Kristiansen had a blood alcohol level of 0.09. The limit for commercial airline pilots in Minnesota is .04. 

Prosecutors have charged Kristiansen with three criminal counts: Aircraft-Operate or Attempt to Operate Under the Influence of Alcohol, Aircraft-Operate or Attempt to Operate with Alcohol Content of 0.04 or More, and Aircraft-Operate or Attempt to Operate with Alcohol Content 0.04 or More within 2 hours..

Under Minnesota state statute, each count carries a maximum sentence of a $3,000 fine and/or up to one year in jail.

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