‘Unruly passenger’ facing federal charges after Atlanta-bound flight diverted to Oklahoma

ATLANTA — An unruly passenger that investigators said caused an Atlanta-bound Delta flight to be diverted is now facing federal charges.

A federal complaint was filed against Stephon Duncan saying he “caused a disturbance on Delta Flight #1730, forcing the flight to be diverted to Oklahoma City,” according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Officials said Duncan got up during the flight and got on the PA system making an announcement that the plane was going through turbulence, to put on seat belts, and claiming that the plane was being taken over and it would be going under 10,000 feet.

After ignoring the flight crew’s orders to stop, authorities said Duncan turned violent.


When crew members tried to physically stop him, Duncan allegedly used his forearm to push one of the crew members away. When an off-duty member of the flight crew jumped in to help, police said Duncan pushed her against the wall and began choking her.

Crew members then turned to other passengers to help restrain Duncan.

Several crew members and other passengers worked together to subdue Duncan.

Duncan was treated for minor injuries and was later booked into the Oklahoma City Jail.

The flight, while delayed, was allowed to continue on to Atlanta where it landed early Saturday morning.

If convicted, Duncan faces up to 20 years in jail and up to a $250,000 fine with three years of supervised release.