A 30-year-old woman who was cut off after drinking four glasses of wine on a JetBlue flight from the Dominican Republic to New York “flirtatiously” touched a male passenger without his consent, unleashed a stream of curses and abusive language toward flight attendants, kicked one of them and then broke free from restraints, forcing an emergency landing in Virginia, federal authorities say.
Robin Ducore was arrested on federal felony charge that could put her behind bars for two decades, according to an indictment filed February 7 and unsealed Monday in the Eastern District of Virginia court.
The incident occurred July 29, 2017, and she was detained after the plane landed at Washington Dulles International Airport. She was then arrested in December on a criminal complaint charging her with interference with flight crew members and attendants.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Ducore Threw Food & Water Across the Plane, Broke Out of Her Flexcuffs, Kicked a Flight Attendant & Then Passed Out 20 Minutes Before Landing, the FBI Says
Robin Dorothy Ducore was a passenger on JetBlue flight 1528 from Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on July 29, 2017, FBI Special Agent Douglas Mohl wrote in his affidavit in support of the criminal complaint that led to Ducore’s arrest.
“However, because of Ducore’s actions, the flight was diverted to Washington Dulles International Airport, which is located in the Eastern District of Virginia, landing at approximately 9:30 p.m. As a result of the diversion, over 100 other passengers on Flight 1528 were debarked and delayed,” Mohl wrote.
Mohl said he interviewed a flight attendant, identified in court documents as only “AE,” who said Ducore ordered two glasses of white wine from him during the first drink service. The flight attendant said Ducore then ordered “two additional glasses of white wine, bringing her total consumption to four glasses of white wine in a period of approximately an hour and a half.” The flight attendant then stopped serving Ducore alcoholic beverages, Mohl wrote.
The flight attendant said he then watched Ducore’s behavior “deteriorate as she grew increasingly loud and began to curse.” The flight attendant told Mohl he:
…Observed Ducore began to touch in a flirtatious manner the back of the head of the male passenger sitting next to her, an individual whom AE did not believe that Ducore knew. AE recalled that the passenger being touched by Ducore appeared uncomfortable with this unsolicited touching. After Ducore was repeatedly told to sop touching this passenger, AE moved the male passenger to a different seat. Ducore than became upset and began cursing and became verbally abusive towards AE.
Mohl wrote that another passenger, who is a medical doctor, told the flight attendant he would sit next to Ducore to calm her down, according to the affidavit. The doctor appeared to calm her down for about five minutes, but the flight attendant told Mohl the doctor then abruptly left the seat and told him something to the effect of, “I’m not sitting next to that psychotic.” The flight attendant felt like Ducore threatened the doctor, but he was not sure, Mohl wrote.
The flight attendant said he then gave Ducore some snacks and a bottle of water to try to help sober her up. But she rejected the food and water and threw them across the plane, he said. She then continued to make “loud, aggressive and profane statements,” according to the affidavit.
At that point, the flight attendant said he made the “safety based value decision” to put Ducore in flexcuffs, also known as plastic handcuffs.
“Ducore initially resisted, but then allowed herself to be cuffed. While restrained, Ducore continued to curse and made statements to the effect of ‘I hate life,'” Mohl wrote in the affidavit. “However, AE did not hear Ducore make explicit threats.”
You can read the full affidavit below or here:
After being restrained for about five minutes, Ducore broke out of the flexcuffs, according to the affidavit. She called the flight attendant a “f*cking asshole” and kicked him once in the leg, Mohl wrote. The flight attendant said he felt the kick, but did not feel pain and wasn’t injured.
The male flight attendant said he then had a female flight attendant stay with Ducore because she seemed to have a better rapport with Ducore.
“While the flight attendant sat with her, Ducore’s behavior fluctuated from being upset and cursing to being calm,” Mohl wrote. “AE did not think Ducore was an imminent threat to the aircraft, but he felt Ducore was a threat to other passengers based on her previous behavior and because he feared what Ducore might do next. Based on these concerns, the flight crew made the decision to divert the aircraft to Washington Dulles Airport.”
Ducore was labeled as a “Level II security threat,” which involves physically abusive behavior such as pushing, kicking, hitting or inappropriate touching, according to the affidavit.
Ducore eventually passed out during the final 20 minutes of the flight, according to the affidavit. But, “the decision to divert had already been made and was underway and the flight crew was committed to having Ducore removed from the aircraft.”
2. JetBlue Lost More Than $36,000 Because It Was Forced to Divert the Flight to Dulles International Airport, Authorities Say
JetBlue told the FBI that the company lost $36,126.25 by having to divert Flight 1528 to Dulles, according to court documents.
The largest portion of that loss was because the airline provided each of the 144 passengers with a $150 credit voucher.
One of the passengers, identified as YD, who was the medical doctor referenced above, told the FBI that Ducore was anxious, angry and pushy when she entered the plane, according to court documents. The doctor said she saw Ducore order an alcoholic beverage and later heard her crying.
The doctor said she eventually sat next to Ducore and introduced herself as a doctor. She said Ducore hugged her and “cried about what appeared to be a family matter.” But the doctor told the FBI, “Ducore’s hugs started to get too tight,” and she “thought [Ducore] would harm me.”
The doctor told the FBI that Ducore grabbed her arm so hard it left a small scratch. The doctor then said she decided to leave the seat and Ducore yelled at her, “you leave like everyone leaves,” cursed and kicked the chair in front of her, according to court documents. The doctor said Ducore was acting “like a caged animal” and there was no reasoning with her. The doctor said Ducore later threw a water bottle toward her and her daughter, but they were not hit by it.
An off-duty flight attendant who was a passenger on the plane said she saw Ducore “crying, punching the chair in front of her and telling other people to shut up and stop looking at her,” according to court documents.
The off-duty flight attendant told the FBI she helped put flexcuffs on Ducore, and during that process, Ducore was telling people to go away and saying “nobody loves her.”
According to court documents, Ducore sat on her seat facing backwards and yelled that everyone was going to die.
3. Ducore’s Attorney Says Her Client Was Drunk Before She Boarded the Plane & JetBlue Let Her On Anyway
Robin Ducore’s attorney says that her client should never have been allowed on the plane by JetBlue in the first place. Nina Ginsberg told Travel + Leisure her client was drunk before she got onboard.
“The airline let her board the flight when she was visibly intoxicated and they served her,” Ginsberg told the travel website.
She added that the person who drove Ducore to the airport in the Dominican didn’t think she was going to be able to fly. Ginsberg told Travel + Leisure that person was “so concerned that she wouldn’t be allowed on the flight” that the person waited for two hours to make sure she was able to get onboard.
Ginsberg did not immediately return a request for comment from Heavy and Ducore could also not be reached for comment.
4. She Pleaded Guilty to the Felony Charge
Ducore pleaded guilty to the felony charge of Interference with Flight Crew Members and Attendants in May 2018, according to a plea agreement filed online.
She remains free on bond pending sentencing.
5. Ducore Faces Up to 20 Years in Prison When She Is Sentenced
Robin Ducore is scheduled to be sentenced in August. She faces up to 20 years in prison.
The indictment alleges that Ducore “did knowingly interfere with the performance of the duties of a flight crew member and flight attendant of the aircraft, and lessen the ability of the member and attendant to perform those duties, by assaulting and intimidating the flight attendants and flight crew members, specifically by assaulting a flight attendant; disregarding instructions from flight attendants; directing abusive and aggressive language toward flight attendants; engaging in inappropriate touching of other passengers, and engaging in disruptive and hostile behavior toward flight attendants andother passengers.”
You can see the indictment below or here:
She has been free on personal recognizance bond since her arrest in December, with conditions. An arrest warrant was issued in November after the FBI’s investigation into the incident and she was taken into custody a few weeks later.
Magistrate Judge Michael S. Nachmanoff ordered that Ducore report to pretrial services on a regular basis, not leave the Washington D.C. metro area without the prior approval of pretrial services or the court and to submit to alcohol testing and treatment, along with mental health treatment or counseling.