A man accused of stealing a plane from Boulder City Municipal Airport and going on a wild ride Sunday night told police he was trying to "complete the takeoff and landing portion of his pilot's license."
Paul Michael Waddle is charged with DUI/aircraft, unlawful taking of a motor vehicle/aircraft and obstructing a police officer.
According to Waddle's arrest report, police were called to the Boulder City airport before 11:30 p.m. Sunday concerning the theft of a white Cessna Caravan. The plane is owned by Scenic Airlines, which provides tours to the Grand Canyon.
Scenic Airlines Assistant Director of Operations Kameron Wynn Nicholson told police the plane had taken off and landed at least three times.
When police arrived at the airport, the plane landed and took off two more times and was being operated recklessly, the report stated. The plane then made a fast 360-degree turn before coming to rest near another plane.
"In the 20-plus years I've been here, it's the first time we've done a felony stop on an airplane," said Sgt. John Glenn with the Boulder City Police Department.
Officers ordered Waddle out of the plane, but he ignored the command, according to the report.
When Waddle continued to ignore commands and brandished an object, which turned out to be a radio, an officer tackled him.
"He kept reaching for his waistband. The officers decided to go hands-on with him. They were close enough to do that. They took him to the ground, placed him in handcuffs," Glenn said.
Police said Waddle's eyes were red, bloodshot and watery, and his speech was slow and slurred. Police said they smelled alcohol on his breath.
Waddle submitted to a preliminary breath test, blowing a .132.
Waddle sustained a number of injuries during the incident and was taken to Boulder City Hospital.
Waddle was later taken to Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas. Nicholson told police she wanted Waddle prosecuted for taking the plane without the owner's consent.
"I don't know if he was in a flight school. He wasn't associated with a flight school with us. We don't have one here," Glenn said.
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