ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — On Friday night, the Albany County Sheriff’s Office arrested 34-year-old Jamie Ecker of Peru, New York. They say she was apprehended in a restricted area of the airport. Now, the airport is adamant that the breach was the result of an Allegiant Airlines representative breaching safety protocol.
NEWS10 has learned that the incident took place after the plane had been delayed by eight hours with the passengers inside. A mechanical issue—a screw or screws in a tire or wheel—caused the Nashville-bound Allegiant flight to remain on the tarmac. Reports say the environment became “rowdy” by nightfall, as the flight was meant to depart in the afternoon.
The sequence of events remains slightly hazy. NEWS10 learned that the airline gave the passengers “false hope” before eventually “ghosting” them. Many reportedly decided to pass time at the bar, leading to several altercations within the airport between intoxicated people.
The airline tried to replace the wheel, but ultimately canceled the flight and let passengers deplane after the lengthy wait. Irritated, intoxicated people could not get their baggage, and one person said they could not access desperately needed medication. Albany Sheriff Craig Apple said that an officer was hurt trying to help handle the apparent chaos.
“We had an individual—again, who was intoxicated—go into a secure area because of Allegiant Air’s negligence. So Allegiant Air jeopardized the safety and security at the airport,” Apple said. “I’m extremely upset about it. We will be taking it up with Allegiant first thing Monday morning.”
Ecker, allegedly intoxicated, allegedly followed an Allegiant employee into the secured area. Ecker slipped in behind the employee when she scanned her badge to access a restricted area. Airport safety policies mandate carefully securing passage to restricted areas by scanning individual badges.
Take a look at the full statement recounting more of the sequence of events from a spokesperson with Albany International Airport:
“The incident unfolded at 9:07 p.m. after an eight-hour delay and eventual cancellation of Allegiant Airlines’ Albany-Nashville flight.”
“Deputies arrested 34-year-old Jamie E. Ecker of Peru, NY after she proceeded to go behind the Allegiant ticket counter and chase after an Allegiant representative to retrieve her luggage.”
“The Allegiant representative failed to allow the security door to the ramp close before proceeding to the ramp.”
“The subject was able to pass through the door before it closed and access the ramp area where she was arrested.”
“This issue is being handled with Allegiant corporate.”