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Hawaii NewsNewswatch

Man pleads guilty over drunken behavior

A college student in a Honolulu courtroom Monday used a soft voice to recount his drunken behavior on a flight from Seattle to Maui, which included hitting a flight attendant.

“I was not kind, and I was yelling obscenities and I was making threats,” Eric Matthew Schneider said of the Aug. 3 flight.

He was charged with interfering with a flight crew, a felony, after the FBI accused him of threatening to kill passengers, shoving an attendant and busting out of plastic handcuffs.

In a deal with prosecutors, Schneider pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault aboard an aircraft and could receive a sentence of up to a year in jail.

Schneider said he was drinking alcohol before and during the Delta Air Lines flight. He struck a flight attendant while flailing his arms as he was being restrained in plastic handcuffs, he said.

It was about two hours into the flight when an intoxicated Schneider became verbally abusive toward passengers and challenged crew members to fight, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Brady said.

One of the physical confrontations ended with Schneider falling into a passenger’s lap and ripping a galley curtain off its rings, the FBI wrote in a criminal complaint at the time. Schneider had a double tequila cocktail and demanded more drinks, according to the complaint.

He broke free from a set of plastic handcuffs, requiring another set to be placed on him, authorities said.

Schneider also urinated all over the floor and walls of a restroom, Brady said.

He’s banned from flying on Delta.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 1.

Maui housing project prompts lawsuit

WAILUKU >> Maui County and developers of a proposed fast-tracked subdivision that includes affordable housing are facing a lawsuit over the development’s environmental assessment.

The lawsuit brought by the Maalaea Community Association and Maui Tomorrow Foundation challenges the assessment, saying that some parts are false and that it lacks required legal information, The Maui News reported.

MVI LLC is developing the 257-acre project between the West Maui Mountains and Honoapiilani Highway. The project would include 58 affordable lots and 55 market-priced lots. Each property would sit on at least 1 acre.

The county Department of Housing and Human Concerns issued a finding Oct. 26 of no significant environmental impact for the project. The county sent the final assessment to the state Office of Environmental Quality Control for publication and a 30-day public comment period.

Doug Spencer of MVI said the project has been well received by members of the community, including police officers, county and state workers, and small-business owners.

“It is unfortunate that groups like Maui Tomorrow and the Maalaea Community Association continue to file lawsuits to oppose our efforts to develop affordable housing for Maui’s local working families,” Spencer said.

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