Federal charge in airport gate-crashing

The Chadds Ford man arrested March 1 after driving his SUV through a gate and onto a runway at Philadelphia International Airport was charged today by the U.S. Attorney’s office with a count of using an automobile to damage airport facilities and disrupt airport operations.

The charge against Kenneth Richard Mazik, 24, was filed by the federal prosecutor in a criminal information. Use of an information means the individual has waived indictment by the grand jury and is considered the prelude to a guilty plea.

Mazik was originally arrested by Philadelphia police on March 1 after he crashed his Jeep Grand Cherokee through a locked gate at the airport and sped at more than 100 miles an hour. A plane was behind the Jeep, about 500 feet above the runway, preparing to land, before air-traffic controllers ordered it into a holding pattern.

While Mazik led airport police on a chase along several runways, air-traffic controllers diverted 75 planes into holding patterns and prevented the departures of 80 other aircraft.

Mazik was held on $1-million bail on state charges of driving under the influence, resisting arrest, aggravated assault, drug possession, and related counts.

On March 12, the case was adopted by federal authorities because of federal oversight of airport operations.

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