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‘I have no memory of it… It’s like I snapped’: Grandmother, 50, who ‘spat at and punched’ flight crew blames ‘medication’ breakdown
By Daily Mail Reporter
PUBLISHED: 15:16 GMT, 30 March 2012
A grandmother who allegedly attacked crew members after she was refused alcohol on a flight has blamed her behaviour on medication.
Peggy Albedhady-Sanchez, 50, is accused of kicking, punching and spitting at the crew on U.S Airways flight 1697 on Tuesday before being restrained by an off-duty deputy.
Three crew members said they were assaulted with two claiming to have been punched in the jaw and kicked in the groin during the flight from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Fort Myers, Florida.
Albedhady-Sanchez of New Jersey, who was arrested upon landing, spoke out this week to claim that she was suffering from a severe panic attack brought on by new medication.
‘I panicked. I couldn’t catch my breath,’ she told the Star-Ledger. ‘I’m sorry to my family, my children, my grandchildren, to the state of Florida.’
She said she has no memory of most of her outburst, which started about half-way through the flight and ended with her in plastic restraints in the plane’s galley.
‘It’s like I snapped,’ Albedhady-Sanchez, who was on her way to visit her son, told the Star-Ledger. ‘It was horrible. I remember seeing hands, and then it’s all black.’
Albedhady-Sanchez has been charged with three counts of battery, according to the police report. She is also accused of breaking an armrest by kicking it.
The police say Albedhady-Sanchez grabbed flight attendant Cynthia Pugh-Knuth by the wrist and was cursing, spitting, kicking and screaming after being refused the drink.
A second flight attendant, Clayton Lee, attempted to intervene and was slapped in the jaw by Albedhady-Sanchez, according to the report.
Michael Mudge, an off duty law enforcement officer with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, happened to be on the flight and was able to restrain the woman with the help of the crew.
She kicked a third flight attendant, Bruce Powell, in the groin before she was placed in plastic restraints, according to the report.
Albedhady-Sanchez told the Star-Ledger that she had been released from the hospital three days before the flight and has been dealing with anxiety and depression caused by her mother’s death and marital problems.
‘I’m on new medication,’ she said. ‘I had one drink. Perhaps it didn’t mix well with the medicine.’
She claims she was not requesting more alcohol but a drink because her mouth was dry and she felt her throat closing.
The 50-year-old said she only grabbed the flight attendant for support when the plane hit some turbulence and that she did not spit on the crew intentionally but said as she has a missing tooth ‘saliva released from my mouth’.
She said her panic attack actually started during the 45-minute layover in Charlotte where she waited after flying from Newark Liberty International Airport.