A 21-year-old woman has been arrested after ramming her 1997 Saturn through an airport gate and reportedly driving with her 2-month-old son onboard onto an active runway at Phoenix Sky Harbor International airport Thursday at about 10 p.m. The event caused an interruption to operations at the airport, but no flight delays were reported. Early reports state that Phoenix Police responded within minutes, stopped the car and took the driver into custody. Authorities say that when asked, the driver stated she did not know she was on an airport or that her son was in the car. She was booked on aggravated DUI and other charges. Sky Harbor has spent $10 million on perimeter security after suffering similar incidents in the past.
In 2003, two teens drove a stolen car through a perimeter fence at the airport and onto the airfield. In 2005, a man being chased by police drove a stolen pickup through a gate and onto runways at the airport, passing jets on a taxiway. Similar events have since been reported at other airports including West Oahu Kalealoa, Hawaii; Colorado's Grand Junction; and Philadelphia International. Police say that at the time of the most recent incident at Sky Harbor, the airport's gate was being tested and was slightly open. A worker at that location notified police and tower controllers after the woman drove through. Airport operations were stopped for approximately 15 minutes as the police took chase and stopped the vehicle. An investigation hopes to determine additional details, including whether the driver was operating under the influence of a drug.