‘Just being stupid’: MS man arrested for doing donuts on Louisiana airport runway
SLIDELL, La. — Newly released surveillance video shows exactly what led up to a Mississippi man’s arrest in Louisiana over the weekend, and it was something one pilot said he’s never seen before.
Photography Pilot Pat Quigley was up in the air when he suddenly noticed something peculiar below.
“You’re coming in, you need a clear runway, and to have some yahoo doing donuts, this was totally, totally unsafe.”
And it seems the driver, John Robertson, somewhat agreed, telling police he was “just being stupid” when he dug circular-shaped ruts into the grass alongside the runway at the Slidell Airport.
Surveillance video showed the driver turned onto the taxiway around 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Seconds later, another camera caught the same truck speeding down the runway before he allegedly spun the truck around causing damage to the grass.
The 49-year-old was arrested for reckless operation.
Airport officials believe Robertson accessed the runway by driving through the part of the property designated for the skydiving businesses, which is open to anyone from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. After hours, a code is required to get onto the property.
“The big problem is the businesses that are open during the day we have to give them access. We have to give FedEx and UPS and the mail people, they have to be able to get in here. As long as that business is back there, which we’re happy to have them here, it just is what it is.”
The potential to close all gates and require access through a call box is now being considered, but officials and frequent fliers said the first step is for everyone to respect airports as serious business.