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SLCPD Arrest Unruly Passenger Who Fought with Flight Crew on International Flight

SALT LAKE CITY — Officers with the Salt Lake City Police Department’s Airport Division have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of being violent and unruly during an international flight.

This investigation started at approximately 4:30 p.m. Mountain Time on Tuesday July 26, 2022, when the airport dispatch notified SLCPD’s Airport Division that Virgin Atlantic Flight VS141 was being redirected mid-flight to Salt Lake City International Airport due to an unruly passenger.

After the plane safely landed at SLCIA, SLCPD officers and U.S. Customs and Border Protection met with the flight crew and located William Stephen Hayes, a United Kingdom resident, actively being restrained by passengers and flight staff.

Based on the preliminary information, Hayes got upset mid-flight and after several attempts by the flight crew to maintain order, he became violent. Flight crew and passengers immediately intervened and restrained Hayes.

While being restrained, Hayes allegedly assaulted the flight crew and at least one other passenger, which resulted in minor injuries. Hayes also kicked airplane seats and windows. Airline staff found no damage after inspection. Despite some media reports that Hayes attempted to breach the cockpit, the SLCPD cannot confirm that information. The investigation remains ongoing.

Hayes was not injured during the incident. SLCPD officers transported Hayes to the Salt Lake County Metro Jail where he was booked on a federal detention hold.

This investigation, and subsequent prosecution, will be referred to the United States Attorney’s Office.

Any applicable court documents will be available on the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER).

The Salt Lake City Police Department would like to acknowledge its Airport Division and its FBI Task Force Officer, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the United States Marshals Service, and the United States Attorney’s Office for their dedicated assistance on this case.

Charges are only allegations, and every arrested person is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Salt Lake City Police Department is not the custodian of record for jail booking photos. Utah Code 17-22-30 mostly prohibits the release of jail booking photos. Generally, a jail booking photo can only be released by the custodian of record after a conviction or when law enforcement determines the person is a fugitive or an imminent threat to a person or public safety. In Salt Lake City, the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office is the custodian of record for jail booking photos.