Attorney: Co-pilot accused of being drunk ‘healthy’

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

Romulus — An American Airlines co-pilot accused of being drunk before he was scheduled to fly a plane out of Metro Airport is receiving treatment, his attorney said Wednesday at the captain’s arraignment.

But John Maguire’s defense attorney, Frank Manley, didn’t specify if the treatment was for alcohol dependency.

Maguire, 50, was arrested March 26 on a suspicion of being drunk. He is charged with operating under the influence of alcohol and appeared at a brief 34th District Court hearing. A not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf for the misdemeanor offense.

A resident of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, Maguire was removed from the Detroit-to-Philadelphia flight before takeoff. Authorities say he had a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit for operating an aircraft.

Romulus District Judge David Parrott set a $10,000 personal bond for Maguire and ordered mandatory alcohol and drug testing.

Maguire declined comment after the hearing, instead referring questions to Manley, who called Maguire an “outstanding pilot” with one of the best performance records in the commercial airlines industry. He did not say if the pilot had any prior incidents.

“Clearly, (he) wouldn’t be flying a major airline if he had a record,” Manley said.

Citing medical privacy laws, Manley could not say if his client is receiving treatment for alcohol dependency. He did say, however, that Maguire is doing well and is making steps, which include treatment for “health issues,” to get back to work.

“The passengers deserve to know that the captain is healthy for safety reasons and I have complete confidence in Capt. Maguire,” Manley said. “We want to make sure the public knows there is no problem with Capt. Maguire. It’s important that people understand that the pilot is healthy for their well-being and their piece of mind.”

A pre-trial is set for 9 a.m. July 15 before Parrott.

Manley said the allegation against the veteran pilot is out of character.

“Capt. Maguire has established an outstanding and extensive record as a commercial pilot,” he said. “He’s been honored on many, many occasions. Clearly, he’s not happy ... to be here on this type of allegation.”

If found guilty, Maguire could face 90 days in jail, up to $500 in fines and be forced to complete 45 days of community service.

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