Witnesses: Drunk woman grabs child, berates family on flight

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

PHOENIX - A mother is outraged after she says a woman grabbed her child during a flight from Phoenix just because her toddler put his feet on the seat.

Police say it happened as the plane was sitting outside Sky Harbor. Passengers say the woman manhandled the child.
They also say she was drunk and is believed to be an attorney out of Las Vegas.

The Southwest Airlines flight was headed to Las Vegas after making a stop in Phoenix with a mother and her 3-year-old son onboard.

Det. James Holmes, with the Phoenix Police Department, tells 3TV, "Wherever that poor 3-year-old was sitting, this lady unfortunately sat in front of him and he did what 3-year-olds do. He put his feet up. He may have kicked the chair."

Lissa Ready says that kind of thing happens all the time with her and her family. “It's hard to resist putting your little feet, it's just the perfect distance from the edge of the seat to stretch your little legs out and hit the back of the seat."

Phoenix investigators say the little boy picked the wrong 42-year-old lady to bother. Det. Holmes says, “The young lady became very upset, she turned around in her seat, reached back actually grabbed the 3-year-old lifting him off the seat and stated something to the affect of ‘You're not going to be kicking my seat all the way to Las Vegas’ and then, according to witnesses, she actually slammed the child back down onto the seat."

Ready says, “That would, that would be so shocking I don't know what I would do.”

Police say the 35-year-old mother and nearby passengers got into a verbal fight with the woman whom witnesses say was drunk. Flight attendants took them off the flight and delayed it for 40 minutes. Investigators say they agreed to seat the suspect elsewhere.

Det. Holmes explains, “Well as the plane pulled away from the gate and moved to take off, the suspect actually sat down in the same seat she had been in and as the plane departed for Las Vegas and during the entire trip according to witnesses, she belittled and berated the mother and the children, yelled at them and actually threw garbage at them."

3TV is told the mother plans to press charges. Southwest Airlines sent 3TV a statement saying, “We take the safety of our customers whether it's at our gates or on board our planes very seriously. We are cooperating fully with local authorities in this matter. Police say they plan to charge the woman with assault on a child and they 3TV passengers want to help in the prosecution.