Matthew Dingley is a 28-year-old New York man who is accused of attacking a flight attendant and trying to storm the cockpit while on a flight from Virginia to New Jersey. Dingley was a passenger on a United Express flight from Dulles International Airport to Newark Liberty International Airport when the incident occurred on Thursday, January 9, 2020, a Port Authority spokesperson told Heavy.
According to the Port Authority, Dingley was also accused of assaulting Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police officers as they attempted to remove him from the plane. Six officers were injured, police said. One of the officers was hospitalized after falling off of a portable stairway, according to officials. Dingley is accused of charging at the plane door as officers opened it, according to NJ.com. He slammed into the officers and caused them to fall back onto the portable stairway, police said.
Dingley was arrested by Port Authority Police on several state charges. It is not clear if authorities are continuing to investigate for potential federal charges. Dingley could not be reached for comment by Heavy and it is not clear if he has hired an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
Here’s what you need to know about Matthew Dingley:
1. Matthew Dingley Ran Up to the Cockpit ‘Full Sprint’ & Started ‘Banging On It,’ Another Passenger Says, & Then Assaulted a Flight Attendent Who Tried to Intervene
Matthew Dingley and the other passengers on United Express flight 4965 from Dulles to Newark were nearing the end of their journey when Dingley began acting erratically, witnesses told NBC New York. Dingley got out of his seat and rushed toward the front of the plane, according to the news station.
“This guy was in a full sprint, right up to the cockpit, hits the cockpit, starts banging on it,” fellow passenger Mike Egbert told NBC New York. Egbert said a flight attendant tried to intervene and Dingley began assaulting her, according to NBC New York. Egbert told the news station the flight attendant was, “A slight woman, petite, and this guy was clocking her.”
Egbert told the news station he and other passengers then got involved. According to Egbert, one of the passengers appeared to have some law enforcement experience and was able to get things somewhat under control. But Egbert said Dingley lost it again when the plane landed and arrived at Terminal C, rushing the door to the plane and attacking them. Egbert told NBC New York that Dingley picked up one of the officers and threw him down.
According to police, six officers were injured, including one who suffered four broken ribs. The flight attendant was also taken to a hospital, but was treated and released with minor injuries, authorities said.
“Once the plane came to a stop on the tarmac and the plane door opened, the suspect charged the PAPD officers who responded to the call, causing them to fall down the plane’s stairs being used to discharge passengers and hit the pavement. More officers responded to assist and were successful in restraining the suspect. Six officers suffered injuries during the altercation including one officer who broke four ribs (but non-life-threatening injuries). They were transported to the hospital along with the flight attendant and suspect for further evaluation,” police said in a statement.
Egbert told NBC New York, “If he did actually get into that cockpit, lord knows what would have happened.”
2. Dingley Was Arrested in 2016 in North Carolina After Police Say He Fled From Officers in a Stolen Car & on a Moped
Matthew Robert Dingley has ties to New York and North Carolina, according to public records. He has lived in Johnsonville, New York, and Wyantsville, New York, near Albany. He is a convicted felon after an arrest in 2016 in North Carolina, public records show.
Dingley was arrested in Duck, North Carolina, after leading police on chases within days of each other, according to WTKR-TV. The first incident involved a stolen car, according to police. Dingley fled from police on August 29 and led them on a chase in a stolen car to Duck, according to the news station. He was able to escape from the officers.
Days later, Dingley was spotted on a moped and police again gave chase, according to the Duck Police Department. After dumping the moped and running from officers, Dingley was arrested. The chase involved the Duck Police and the Southern Shores Police Department, Kitty Hawk Police Department, Nags Head Police Department and Dare County Sheriff’s Office, according to WTKR.
According to North Carolina Department of Public Safety records, Dingley was convicted of felony eluding, resisting arrest, larceny over $1,000 and receiving stolen property in December 2016 and sentenced to probation. His probation was revoked in November 2016 and he was sentenced to 5 months in jail.
3. Matthew Dingley Has Worked for His Father’s Construction Company & Says on Linkedin One of His Goals Is to ‘Learn How to Fly Multiple Aircrafts & Skydive’
Matthew Dingley says on his Linkedin profile that he is the “CEO of my life.” He says he has worked for his father in the construction business for several years. His profile lists him as being as a foreman at a commercial and residential construction company in New York. Dingley wrote, “From below the ground to the blue of skies, construction development in all aspects.”
On Linkedin Dingley said his goals include wanting to, “learn how to fly multiple aircrafts and skydive.” He also said he wants to “star in a show/movie,” “release 20 music albums” and “own over 50 million in secured investments.”
Dingley added on Linkedin he wants to, “build a castle for myself in the obx (Outer Banks) of NC with a huge aquaponics system on the roof and animal farm on the bottom floor. The middle floors will be training rooms and rooms for guest. Completely self efficient building where citizens pay a monthly rate to live and push themselves harder than ever physically.”
4. Dingley Was Also Convicted on a DUI Charge in New York After Crashing His Car Near Albany in 2017
Dingley also has a criminal history in New York state, according to public records. In February 2019, Dingley was convicted in a DUI case, according to a press release from the Albany County District Attorney’s Office. Dingley was found guilty at a jury trial of two misdemeanor counts of driving while intoxicated, the DA said.
“On July 17, 2017, at approximately 8:06 p.m., members of the New York State Police responded to a motor vehicle crash involving two vehicles that had just exited I-787 via the Exit 5 ramp towards Rensselaer County. Troopers identified Dingley as the driver of the vehicle that caused the crash,” prosecutors said. “Dingley displayed signs of intoxication, admitted to drinking three beers earlier that evening at an ‘Alive at Five’ concert, and failed roadside field sobriety testing on the scene. Dingley later registered a blood alcohol content of .08 percent.”
Dingley faced up to a year in prison at his April 2019 sentencing, but the outcome of the case was not immediately available.
In May 2018, Dingley was arrested in East Greenbush, New York, and charged with being in possession of a stolen motorcycle, according to a police press release. “Around 4:00 p.m., customers called police to report seeing a motorcyclist sitting on a Ninja Kawasaki, drinking beer in the Peter Harris parking lot off Columbia Turnpike. Officer Edward Ashley responded to investigate and determined that the motorcycle had been stolen days earlier from Rotterdam. While being placed in custody, Dingley attempted to flee. He was charged with Criminal Possession of Stolen Property 3rd Dgr., Resisting Arrest and numerous other counts,” the police department said in a statement. The outcome of that case was not immediately known.
Along with his arrests in North Carolina and New York, Dingley was also charged in Virginia in March 2016 with misdemeanor trespass and public intoxication. Details of the incident, which occurred in Virginia Beach, were not immediately available. Dingley was found guilty in absentia of public intoxication and fined $250, court records show.
5. Matthew Dingley Was Charged With Aggravated Assault, Trespassing, Resisting Arrest & Interfering With Transportation & Remains in Custody at the Essex County Jail
In the Newark airport incident, Matthew Dingley was charged by the Port Authority Police with aggravated assault, criminal trespassing, resisting arrest and interfering with transportation, according to NJ.com.
Dingley remained in custody at the Essex County Correctional Facility in New Jersey on Monday, January 13, online records showed. It is not clear if he had appeared in court.
The FBI and federal prosecutors typically have jurisdiction over possible crimes committed on a plane while in the air. The state charges all appear to stem from what police say occurred between Dingley and officers at the airport after he was taken off the plane. Federal prosecutors in New Jersey have not yet filed any charges against Dingley.
Dingley was on a CommutAir flight operating as United Express, according to CNN. CommutAir Chief Operating Officer Joel Raymond told CNN, “We express our gratitude for the quick reaction of our passengers and crew who responded during this incident.”