Airport Gate Crasher Pleads Guilty

Chadds Ford man could get up to 20 years behind bars after pleading guilty to endangering airport.

By Dan Stamm and Teresa Masterson
|  Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012  |  Updated 4:51 PM EDT
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Federal Charges Filed for Driver On Runway

Kenneth Richard Mazik drove intoxicated onto the runway of the Philadelphia International Airport Thursday, police say.

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Security Scare at Airport

Police say an intoxicated 24-year-old Kenneth Mazik of Chadds Ford was behind the wheel of a Jeep Grand Cherokee that drove through Gate 25 and onto one of the main runways at Philadelphia International Airport, bringing air traffic to a stop.

Intoxicated Driver Speeds onto Airport Runway: Cops

Kenneth Richard Mazik was allegedly intoxicated when he drove his vehicle onto the runway at Philadelphia International Airport Thursday morning, authorities said. All inbound and outbound air traffic was stopped for a short period of time. Police say the driver will be charged with driving under the influence and reckless endangerment. NBC10's Marisa Brahney reports the details.
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A Chadds Ford, Pa. man admits he drove his SUV through a locked gate and onto the tarmac of Philadelphia International Airport earlier this year, disrupting travel.

Kenneth Mazik pleading guilty in federal court Tuesday afternoon. He made national headlines March 1 when he drove his Jeep Grand Cherokee onto a runway at Philly International and towards plane traffic.

Under the plea agreement, Mazik pleaded guilty to one count of using an automobile to disrupt the services of an international airport. 

In his guilty plea, Mazik admitted he intentionally drove through Gate 25 and down a runway towards a plane on final approach. He also admitted to driving along other runways while causing a dangerous disturbance at the airport.

Despite pleading guilty, prosecutors could still suggest that the 24-year-old get the maximum of 20 years in federal prison with 3 years of supervised release. He could also get up to $250,000 in fines.

No matter what, under the plea agreement, Mazik agrees to pay more than $91,000 in restitution -- nearly $75,000 of which will go to US Airways.

According to an affidavit, Mazik crashed his Jeep through the locked gate as an airplane approached for landing and then drove his vehicle at a high-rate of speed down a runway as a plane approached. The plan had to be diverted into a holding pattern, according to the U.S. Attorney.

The affidavit went on to allege "that Mazik continued to drive his Cherokee even after the Philadelphia Police began pursuing him. Finally, Mazik stopped on a taxiway adjacent to runway 27R. Mazik’s actions caused significant disruption to the operation and services of the airport and caused financial expense and losses."

Mazik was facing charges of DUI, criminal mischief and assault charges, among others, in the city of Philadelphia but the city dropped all of those charges so that federal authorities could take over the case.


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