Colorado rang in 2014 with a bit of a mellow buzz -- a certain relaxed attitude -- and it was a feeling that lasted throughout the year. Sure, that mellow was harshed by continuing problems with police and sheriff's deputies, as well as a very contested (and expensive) election season. But we also got a few needed civics lessons in the form of same-sex marriage and student protests. In the end, though, our minds remained tuned to the biggest story of the year: legalized marijuana. What will 2015 bring? Who knows? Anything can happen when you're a mile high. For proof, here are our strangest Colorado plane stories of 2014, compiled from news sources across Colorado -- including Westword. Or, you can check out all our Year in Review 2014: Strange But True.
Talk about strange: This airplane story is full of heroes! In July, after storms rerouted a Washington, D.C.-to-Denver flight from DIA to the airport in Cheyenne, a Frontier Airlines pilot decided to order Domino's pizzas for all 160 passengers who were stuck on board. The Domino's location, which was about to close, stayed open to accommodate the stranded travelers, and employees there made 35 pizzas, then delivered them to the plane.
The Frontier Airlines plane that had carried Ebola patient Amber Joy Vinson to Texas in October, then made several other trips around the country, eventually ended up in a Denver hangar after concerns were raised as to whether it had been fully decontaminated. The Airbus A320 had its seat covers and carpet replaced and was given a thorough scrubbing. Eventually it was returned to service after Frontier CEO David Siegel highlighted its safety by plopping himself in the spot where Vinson had been seated.
On October 27, an FBI special agent in Denver was informed of a disturbance aboard Delta Flight 2525 from Atlanta to DIA. But "disturbance" was a major understatement, considering the comments of two female flight attendants who were molested on board. One told police that the suspect, Vadym Pecherskyi, 42, of Ukraine, "put his lips on her neck and later touched her back and then moved his hand to her buttocks. At one point during the flight, he sat next to her on her jumpseat, put his hand on her thigh, and then started to move his hand up and under her dress," according to reports. The other flight attendant, who tried to help the first, said that Pecherskyi fondled her, placed her in a headlock and jerked her toward him. Pecherskyi was arrested in Denver.
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A United Airlines flight from Newark to DIA had to make an unscheduled landing in Chicago in August after two passengers got into a heated dispute. When one woman tried to put her seat back, she found it blocked by a man who had installed a new device called the Knee Defender on his tray table. United doesn't allow the gadgets, but when a flight attendant asked the man to remove it, he refused to comply. According to news reports, the woman in front then stood up and threw a cup of water at the man. No arrests were made, but the two passengers were removed, and the flight continued to Denver without them.