Pilot praised for stopping allegedly drunk co-pilot

Associated Press

Traverse City — A charter airline is praising a pilot who blew the whistle on a co-pilot he suspected of being drunk before a plane was scheduled to take off from a northern Michigan airport.

Traverse City police Capt. Kevin Dunklow says a breath test Thursday showed Sean Michael Fitzgerald, 35, of Boca Raton, Florida, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.30, nearly four times the legal threshold for driving.

The plane didn’t leave Cherry Capital Airport.

Talon Air says Fitzgerald has been fired. The company based in Farmingdale, New York, says it’s “very proud” of airline Capt. Manny Ramirez, who discovered the problem.

The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports Fitzgerald was arraigned Friday on a misdemeanor charge.

Defense attorney Patrick Fragel declined to comment. Fitzgerald’s preliminary examination is Sept. 8.