Exclusive Surveillance Video Shows Allegedly Drunk Jet Fuel Driver Falling Down

Exclusive airport surveillance video shows an allegedly drunk jet fuel driver stumbling significantly and falling down before he was arrested in April at Lindbergh Field while trying to fuel a plane.

Harbor Police say 56-year-old James Stewart was arrested with a blood alcohol content of .24, three times the legal limit to drive a vehicle.

Through the state’s public record law, we requested and obtained exclusive surveillance video from the Airport Authority of the fuel tanker driver right before he was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving.

The video shows an approximately 10,000 gallon jet fuel tanker parked next to a Delta plane on April 16.

Harbor police say the driver intended to pull up to the plane to fuel it, but they say he was so drunk, he attempted to fuel the plane with an empty tanker around 10:30 p.m.

Aviation experts tell us driving this vehicle in an impaired condition could be extremely dangerous.
NBC7 Investigates sat down with Harbor Police to confirm what the video shows.

It appears to show a co-worker run to alert Harbor Police about the man’s condition. As the driver walks away from the tanker, he stumbles, falls down, with his legs flying up in the air.

He then jumps back up and tries to get back in the truck, at which point an officer appears to guide him away from the tanker.

The police report says the man was “stumbling significantly” at the scene. We’ve also learned today that the arresting Harbor Police officer found two empty 24-ounce cans of Steel Reserve beer on the floor board of the tanker.

The City Attorney’s office charged 56-year-old James Stewart with a misdemeanor DUI charge last week. Stewart entered a “not guilty” plea at the arraignment, and through his attorney, declined to comment.

The jet fuel company where Stewart worked told us he is no longer working there.
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.”

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