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Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - Page updated at 06:00 a.m.
Man admits crashing SUV onto Philly airport runway
By MARYCLAIRE DALE
A Pennsylvania man who said he was troubled by depression, drug addiction and the stress of new fatherhood admits he crashed onto a runway at Philadelphia International Airport as a passenger jet was preparing to land.
Kenneth Mazik, 24, of Chadds Ford, pleaded guilty Tuesday to disrupting airport operations and endangering passengers in the March 1 incident.
Mazik crashed his SUV through a locked gate and sped across several runways at speeds topping 100 mph before police arrested him on the tarmac, authorities said.
Air traffic controllers had to divert 75 airplanes into holding patterns, including one that was about 20 seconds from touching down on the same runway where the 11 a.m. chase occurred.
Mazik told a federal magistrate that he's since been treated for depression and an addiction to the ADHD drug Adderall.
"There were underlying emotional/mental issues that blended in with the addiction," Mazik told U.S. Magistrate Mitchell S. Goldberg. "I recently became a father."
His stresses included "relationship issues with the mother, (and) growing up, I guess," Mazik said.
Mazik remains free on bail until his scheduled Oct. 24 sentencing. He faces a possible 18- to 24-month sentence under federal sentencing guidelines, along with $91,000 in restitution and a potential $250,000 fine.
Defense lawyer Kerry Kalmbach has said Mazik didn't mean to harm anyone when he charged the perimeter fence, but was trying to get away from people he thought were chasing him.
Airport workers told police that Mazik sat in his black Jeep Grand Cherokee for several minutes before breaching the locked gate. The arriving plane was about 500 feet above him when it aborted its landing, the FBI said in an affidavit.
Mazik also sped down a runway in active use for departing planes.
Mazik told the judge that his father had died when he was 16, and that he was later diagnosed with depression and prescribed Adderall for an apparent ADHD issue. He has had other minor brushes with the law, but none that affect his sentencing range, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Albert Glenn.
Mazik said he holds a business degree from the University of Delaware.
The Transportation Security Administration could bring a related civil action, notwithstanding his criminal plea, Glenn said. Mazik could also find himself the subject of "severe travel restrictions at airports," the judge said.
Copyright © The Seattle Times Company
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