JetBlue Pilot Accused of Flying Drunk Blames Gum

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Did you fly on JetBlue flight 583 from New York to Orlando, or from Orlando back to New York on flight 584 on April 21 last year? If so, you may want to know that your pilot might’ve been trashed.

According to a federal complaint made public yesterday, Dennis Murphy Jr. was subject to random alcohol testing when he landed in New York and blew a .111, which drunk-driving enthusiasts will remember is well above the legal limit. When he took the test again 15 minutes later he blew a .091, which is technically legal.

In case you think this might be some kind of mistake, Murphy’s co-pilot claims he was red-faced and drinking an unknown beverage from a cup before each flight as well as while he was flying. The pilot also became erratic during the test, rapidly chewing gum and asking why he wasn’t being tested for drugs, too (which, okay, good question). For his part, Murphy claims he was not drunk and blames the gum he was chewing — that Bacardi liquid-center gum will get you every time.

Murphy was arraigned in Brooklyn yesterday and released on a $50,000 bond, although if found guilty he’s facing up to 15 years in prison. He has since quit JetBlue in what we imagine was one of those “You’re not firing me — I quit!” situations. Luckily for the 270 passengers on his flights, the computers that actually fly planes these days are impervious to alcohol.