San Diego

Man Who Hijacked San Diego Airport Shuttle Sentenced

One officer who testified about the April hijacking said the accident could have been catastrophic.

A man who posed as a passenger and stole a San Diego International Airport employee shuttle filled with workers was sentenced Monday for related charges.

Norberto Eaton, 46, of Arizona, was sentenced to three years in jail followed by three years and eight months of mandatory supervision. He will be monitored by the court, according to his defense attorney Patrick McCoy.

Eaton was charged with eight felony counts of false imprisonment by force, one count of vehicle theft and one count of resisting an executive officer by force. 

The judge also dismissed eight counts of kidnapping and three counts of battery on an officer, confirmed McCoy.

Eaton stole the shuttle on April 19, 2016 in what one man testified was a wild ride. He previously pleaded not guilty. 

Video footage of the shuttle hijacking shows Eaton jump up from the back of the shuttle, hop in the driver’s seat and speed off from Terminal 2 at Lindbergh Field with the door open.

A woman in the front seat with a cane can be seen looking for something to hold onto so she won’t fall as she and others are tossed around.

“The rate of speed was excessive,” testified Randal Snyder during Eaton’s preliminary hearing. “I was thrown up against the window which I thought was odd. I became concerned. I started looking for my seat belt.”

Investigators say that at one point, Eaton was racing 55 miles per hour down a 25-miles speed zone on Harbor Drive. He careened around stopped cars and raced through a red light near the U.S. Coast Guard station.

One officer who testified about the April hijacking said the accident could have been catastrophic.

During the ordeal, which lasted more than two minutes, Snyder, one of the two men on board the shuttle, testified that he and the other man looked at each other and decided they were going to do something.

When the shuttle hit traffic near Hawthorne and came to a stop, they jumped the driver and grabbed him.

Snyder says Eaton escaped, but he and the other man were able to shout down a parking enforcement officer, who arrested Eaton.

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