A jet fuel driver is facing a DUI charge after he was arrested at the San Diego International Airport while trying to fuel a plane, Harbor Police said.
James Stewart, 56, was arrested in April with a blood alcohol content of 0.24, three times the legal limit to drive a vehicle.
Click here to view the details on his arrest.
“He was there to fuel an aircraft, and that’s when he had gotten out of the vehicle, and he was walking around, and that’s when the ground service workers thought there was something wrong with him,” Harbor Police Lt. John Forsythe said.
A port spokeswoman, who declined to do an on-camera interview, said Stewart is a contractor for the Airport Authority.
ASIG, the company he works for, did not return multiple requests for comment. Messages left on Stewart’s phone were also not returned.
Forsythe said it was fellow ground service crews who noticed Stewart’s odd behavior around 10 p.m. on April 16.
“And they called the supervisor for the fuel truck drivers who responded immediately and talked to their employee and determined that they were probably under the influence of alcohol they immediately called the Harbor Police Department that responded,” Forsythe said.
A Harbor Police official said the danger of operating the highly-flammable jet fuel tankers while intoxicated is obvious.
Forsythe said all 7,000 airport employees are trained in safety measures.
“Our employees at the airport are really vigilant,” Forsythe said. “And trained to let us know; call the Harbor Police if there’s anything unusual or suspicious or anything out of the ordinary that may present a danger to the traveling public or the contractors or employees. They called us right away and we were able to make the arrest and this gentleman will have his day in court.”
The Airport Authority sent the following statement about the incident:
“Ensuring a safe and secure environment for airport passengers, employees and contractors is always our top priority. Vigilance by everyone who works at the airport is one of the reasons this incident was spotted, reported and dealt with expeditiously. This was an isolated incident and there were no safety impacts to the traveling public or airport operations. More than 7,000 employees and contractors are badged to work at the airport. All badged employees and contractors must undergo and pass a rigorous background check in order to work at the airport. We don’t take this type of incident lightly. All employees and contractors are bound by the Airport Authority’s safety, security and personal conduct codes, as well as all federal, state and local laws.”
The City Attorney’s office is prosecuting the DUI charge.
Stewart is scheduled to be arraigned on May 29.