Controller Alerts Police To Suspected Impaired Pilot

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An air traffic controller called police to report a pilot he believed was drunk at the controls and the cops in Mitchell, S.D., later arrested a 65-year-old man on various alcohol- and drug-related charges. The controller became suspicious of the pilot's slurred speech and his apparent difficulty holding altitude on Thursday. According to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, when police met the Mooney after it landed, they found open liquor in the cockpit, a container of prescription drugs without a prescription and a pilot they allege had obviously been drinking.

The pilot, who is from Flora, Ill., was given a field sobriety test and determined to have been under the influence of alcohol, according to a police statement quoted by the newspaper. "Right now you have to worry about people in motor vehicles that are drinking and one thing we shouldn't have to worry about is the safety of our pilots in the air," Mitchell Police Sgt. Ryan Erickson told Keloland Television.