Police: Man attacks teen over cell phone on plane
December 29th, 2010
03:02 AM ET

Police: Man attacks teen over cell phone on plane

A 68-year-old Idaho man has been charged with misdemeanor battery after police say he struck a teen who would not turn off his phone while the plane they were in was taxiing for takeoff.

The incident took place Tuesday evening on a Southwest Airlines flight from Las Vegas to Boise, Idaho, said Lt. Kent Lipple of the Boise police.

The man, Russell Miller, was arrested after the plane landed, Lipple said.

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Filed under: Air travel
soundoff (286 Responses)
  1. SR

    Dude, turn off your bling phone. You can text/call your gay friends when you get off the plane

    December 29, 2010 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
  2. Wallace

    That old man's a HERO, kid should have been smacked hard enough to not wake up for the rest of the flight.

    December 29, 2010 at 7:59 am | Report abuse |
  3. Big Joe

    And what about loopy holes?

    December 29, 2010 at 7:59 am | Report abuse |
  4. downinfront

    In this day and age with all the hi-tech gadgets, you would think the airplanes would be hi-tech enough to overcome this limitation with the cell phone usage.

    December 29, 2010 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
  5. David

    I applaud the old man! He did what so many of us have thought of doing and are just afraid of the consequences. I hope he slapped the kid so hard that his unattentive no parenting skills parents felt it in their sleep. It all boils down to a lack of good parenting and the teenager's feeling of being above the rules. The rules are the rules, regardless of what we may know or not know to be true. I say, give the old man a pat on the back and a gold star, take him out to lunch and let him know what he did was right!

    December 29, 2010 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  6. Sam

    jasdk, buron, get a life. That "old man" didn't smack him hard enough to "get the message" that you do what you are told. I think you need to be smacked as well perhaps?

    December 29, 2010 at 6:12 am | Report abuse

    BAAAAAA says the sheep

    December 29, 2010 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  7. Donna

    Congrats to the elderly man!!! I don't understand why people cannot cut their phones off when asked by the flight attendants. It's crazy. People are so addicted!! And it's not like they have to cut them off for the whole flight, just during take off and landing. Come on people, is that so hard? The same thing happened to me back in July coming home from a trip to New York. This jerk would not cut his phone off. I told my family that if the plane went down and I ended up okay, I would find this man and there would be a beat down. There's no sense in it!

    December 29, 2010 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  8. ppl r crazy

    Each person who said the kid shud b slapped needs to b slapped and then their kids slapped! you dont hit someone period unless u yourself hav been hit... i kno if th eold man would hav slapped my kid i wud hav smothered him in his depends diaper! get real none of u wud b saying this bs if it wud hav been ur kid u wud already hav a lawyer on speed dial so stop acting like u know what went on because it doesnt say... it could have very well been the old mans fault just because there was a teen involved u automatically assume he was being an ass well wen u assume u make an ass out of urself!

    December 29, 2010 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Amazed

      And you need to try writing like you have two brain cells to rub together. When you write like you text, your level of intelligence and maturity comes into doubt, and most don't even bother attempting to decipher what you are trying to say.

      December 29, 2010 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
  9. Fred Bartkowski

    Fitting in. That's why we labored in the humid scratchy corn fields.
    With the money from that effort it would be possible to by a pair of levis and a couple pair of courderoys along with a nice shirt to throw into the mix with the homemade ones. Novelty sunglasses were not available back then.
    So turn off your phone while flying young man. And old man you know better. Violence is never right.

    December 29, 2010 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
  10. Kerriedoll

    Ask any commercial pilot...using a cell phone on a plane is NOT going to cause the plane to crash, nor will it encourage terrorism or any other nonsense. Those of y'all who are like "arrest them both" or "throw the book at the kid" frighten me more than some yahoo using a cell phone on a plane. And, people, please invest in a dictionary!! I am absolutely aghast at the 90 percent of you who can't spell a string of two words correctly.

    December 29, 2010 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
    • jad

      While it may be a stupid regulation, it is a federal regulation. If you don't like it (and who does?), lobby to take it out. More than anything, the kid would have annoyed me. Is it that only some people should obey the rules/laws and not others? What about respect and being considerate to your fellow neighbor/passengers? I don't want to listen to some kid yap on a phone... it invades my space. Granted, I can listen to my headset but electronic devices are required to be turned off. If you break the law, you should at least pay some penalty.

      December 29, 2010 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  11. Amazed

    They were both in the wrong. Rules are in place for a reason. Unfortunately most, not all, there are a few exceptions, kids today have no concept of consequences for their actions. They feel that if they think a rule is "stupid," then they don't have to follow it.

    December 29, 2010 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Max

      This is not a rule, it is a federal safety regulation. If the kid wouldn't turn his phone off, call the stewardess, don't kick his butt – no matter how much he deserved it. I do not know the specifics about the incident (what was said...etc), but just report the guy and teach him a lesson.
      I agree with you on your views on the younger generation today and rules. Seems like they all have excuses for not obeying the law or staying within the boundaries of society, and it always seems like it's the parents' fault.

      I know people that have kids who have been diagnosed with ADD...get the drugs and everything. These kids can't pay attention in school to pass normal classes, nor can they pay attention long enough to do homework. So, they give them special classes grading them on a "special" bell curve – and even put them on the honor roll. Meanwhile, these kids stay up all night playing video games and texting on their phone.
      We've given the younger generation a free pass to be rewarded for underachievement,....so I guess, in a way, it is our fault.

      December 29, 2010 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • victor munos

      Cell phones have airplane mode the kid probably had this on. However old people are ignorant to technology these days.
      This man is simply violent and has probably had a history of it.

      December 29, 2010 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      Speaking of ignorant – cell phones are required to be turned off during taxi and takeoff. Airplane mode does not allow you to keep them on. The kid, like you, probably thought he knew better.
      He, like you, did not.

      December 29, 2010 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Alexis

      FIRSTLY, cell phones DO NOT have "airplane mode." I am a pilot. There is a reason you re asked to turn them off and it's dangerous. There is enough going on with tower control and it's all very delicate stuff, it has nothing to do with "pld people not getting technology" to the person who commented on that. THE FAA is protecting you. First it's smokers, now it's this stuff and drunks on the plane and then there's the terrorists..........people, we have enough to worry about. BEHAVE.

      Second, teenagers are dangerous for alot of reasons and this is one. You don't risk an entire plane's safety so you can get in one more teen-age text. I wonder how his parent's would like a class action law-suit if anything goes wrong? Now I am sure the parents of this obnoxious brat will be suing the airline. No wonder I fly private jets only.

      December 29, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amazed at Idiocy

      @ Alexis

      I really hope you are flying older private planes with no advanced electronics. If you don't know about airplane mode on a cell phone, as you are saying there isn't, then you shouldn't be touching anything advanced. Please don't comment out of ignorance. Since the Motorola RAZR was introduced SEVERAL years ago, if not earlier, most decent cell phones have an airplane mode. The entire point of airplane mode is to stop all transmission from the phone whether it is cellular, bluetooth, or WiFi. This turns the phone into a MP3/Video player or word processor or notepad for all intents and purposes. Learn a little about electronics before you post.

      As to the kid, he didn't deserve to be hit, but he was not following the rules we all know when we fly. The flight attendant should have been the one handling this.

      December 29, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Do the same

      I would of done the same thing. I was in the same situation on a flight to Houston. I gave him an ultimatum and he backed down. This teen was possibly endangering everone on the plane. Why take chances. Teens think that they will live forever. Adults know better and should be treated with respect.

      December 30, 2010 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
    • IdiocyofVictorMoron

      @Victor..you're just assuming dude. Assumptions has no valid arguments and have no place especially when it comes to safety.

      @amazed idiocy...in the other article in CNN, it was mentioned there that the kid neglected the flight crew when reproved. The kid was just a total jerk. If I were that guy, that spoiled brat should have just flewn-out the window instead.

      December 30, 2010 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael


      December 30, 2010 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • LoneStar

      I travel almost every week and I see people doing this all the time. It's annoying. The kid deserved a beating and his parents too for raising such a brat. He was risking the lives of everyone on the plane and should be added to the no fly list. Thank you Mr. Miller.

      January 2, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Danny

      why dont u all shut the eff up.

      January 11, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jane

      I would like to know if the young man was leaving the gate to taxi down the runway for take off and if so was he 5 min. away from the gate or closer to the time up wheels up on the plane. I see people using laptops and texting on cells right up until the wheels are going up. And, was the young man talking or texting? I'm curious to know....And, for those who are lumping all young people into one group, please do not do that. That can be somewhat discrimatory, don't you think? I have done some reseach regarding SWA and use of cell phones. In 2003 the public relations department put out information stating – "Previously when SWA passengers boarded the plane and the door was closed they were told to turn off their electronc devices, etc. However, now when one of their planes land as soon as the attendants tell them they can use their devices while taxiing down the run way to their gate." Something is a little wrong with this picture to me. Having said this – my son's plane left the gate at 1:55 (on time) and at 1:57 he texted me two words "leaving Dallas" and at 2 p.m. he st. a brief text to a good friend. An attendant (son sitting on aisle) walked up to him and sd. you need to turn you cell phone off and put it away, my son used to only hearing words like "Please put the back of your seat upright, please push your bag further under the seat in front of you, or what would you like to drink", kept his head down, hurrying to finish his message and said I will just let me finish this text. He then stated if u don't shut it down I will remove you from the plane, son again sd. I am about to finish and I'm off. The attendant walked on back toward the back and when he came up by my son, he had his cell turned off and in his pocket. Then he heard the announcement that the plane was turning around in order to put someone off the plane for cell phone usage.....I have done the same thing before and he has done the same thing before and never was treated this way, or was even close to being treated this way....My son is a small fellow. He is 5'5" tall and weighs about 140 lbs. He is a studious young man. He was reading one of his business magazines and when he felt the plane moving he texted me and his friend. He is NOT the kind to pursposely dis-obey a rule as something that the airlines are stating this is FCC guidelines and regulations or they may say this is a rule of the FAA. I have found information that states the FAA does not enforce this that the FCC is the one who enforces the use of cell phones. In my research of FCC rules and regs I haven't found one yet that states you will be removed from the plane within 5 minutes of leaving the gate if you do not quite texting on your phone. I have seen numerous information stating that cell phones are not to be used in flight on a carrier or passenger plane...Key word "flight". And, please do not go stating well the parents didn't teach him properly...You should know us better and you should ask his teachers how his mother dealt with any problem at all at school (there were very few). Now, after I saw the article on the man and the teen ager – I see they are over paranoid about young people using cells on the runway....However, they picked on the wrong one to make an example of. And, if I can get an attorney to prove my thougths to be true – there could be a little discrimnation here. Because as I told them yesterday – the HIGHER eschalon – I constantly see people on their flights with laptops and cells on texting right up till the plane is acending into the air.

      January 13, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jad

    While it may be a stupid regulation, it is a federal regulation. If you don't like it (and who does?), lobby to take it out. More than anything, the kid would have annoyed me. Is it that only some people should obey the rules/laws and not others? What about respect and being considerate to your fellow neighbor/passengers? I don't want to listen to some kid yap on a phone... it invades my space. Granted, I can listen to my headset but electronic devices are required to be turned off. If you break the law, you should at least pay some penalty.

    December 29, 2010 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
    • reg

      yes i imagine it is a federal regulation that you can't punch people passengers

      December 29, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. AWH

    @KB – dd you ever see a Gas Station fire caused by a cell-phone? – Believe me they exist. – I have worked in Gasoline Refineries and NO Cell-phone use is permitted for exactly that reason.... explosions of vapor caused by Cell-Phone Radio Transmissions...

    December 29, 2010 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      I'm calling BS on this one, it has never happened and you made this up. Most if not all service stations belong to a Petroleum distributors organization and their own website says it has never happened. Most stations in my area have removed those stupid signs. You sir are one of the those people spreading untruths on the internet posing as someone who knows something.

      December 29, 2010 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Des Runyan

      FYI on cell phones and fires: See http://www.snopes.com/autos/hazards/gasvapor.asp. There are NO verified incidents of cell phones causing gasoline fires. It is a legend.

      December 29, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • GuerillaGorilla

      OMG... did I read this right?!? Cell phone radio waves causing gasoline fires!?! Hahahahahahahahahahahaha...

      If that were true then every single gas station in America (except maybe the extremely remote ones where there are no cell towers) would have exploded by now, as would every car that a person in it talked on the cell phone. No, the link between cell phones and gas station fires is the same as the link between cell phones and motor vehicle accidents. Negligence. When people are talking on their cell phones they aren't paying attention to what they are doing. This results in accidents, unsafe conduct, and many other injury related mishaps. What causes 95% of gas station fires is static discharge. that is, the person builds up a static charge, reaches for the gas pump nozzle, and when they ground out a small arc of electricity ignites the fumes emerging from the gas tank. Most gas stations now have special collars on their nozzles that collect these vapors.
      Next time before posting something as "proof" do a little research.
      And if your company bans cell phone use, it is for safety reasons, not because they are afraid the radio waves will spontaneously ignite the fumes.

      December 29, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • AWH

      SHELL Refineries used to confiscate our cell phones upon entry to the Oil Refineries, so did Exxon. That was before cell-phone camera, and was for Electrical vapor ignition prevention. So when I say this, it is from a position of factual, personal knowledge,, and nothing to do with internet rumour or counter-rumour.

      December 29, 2010 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • RJ

      Static from anything will ignite vapors at a gas station. Don't put the blame on just cell phones. You generate static by sliding across your seat when you get out of the car. It is recommended to touch somethiing metal to discharge it before grabbing the gas nozzle.

      December 29, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • GuerillaGorilla

      I wasn't blaming cell phones for the static, I was saying it was the static rather than the cell phones that caused the fires. And cell phone use increases negligence (like forgetting to tough something metal before touching the fuel spiggot) that results in those fires.

      As for Shell confiscating phones, that is their business and whatever reason they want to use, fine. Doesn't mean they overrule scientific fact.

      December 29, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • W

      Myth Busters disproved it. http://mythbustersresults.com/episode2

      December 29, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dorothy Friend

    I've flown on airlines where all cell phone use was forbidden. Flight mode included.

    Smokers managed to give up their fix during a flight, alcoholics cannot drink nonstop, so why should cell phones be special exemptions?

    December 29, 2010 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
  15. duke

    You people are real threats against mankind!!
    Most of you posters are pure conformist,
    Had the kid beat the old dude to a pulp,you same idiots would want the kid arrested for life???
    Yes no matter the law,if you break it then you should be beat right??riight!!

    December 29, 2010 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
    • lewtwo

      no.. just arrest him and imprison him for life.

      December 29, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
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