Southwest Airlines passenger might spend decades in prison for the last May incident when she attacked flight attendant over a face mask policy, multiple sources reported.
According to the incident report, the 28-year-old Vyvianna M. Quinonez was traveling from Sacramento to San Diego on May 23. As soon as she boarded the plane, she was told that she was not wearing her face mask properly and was not following the FAA regulations.
She went even further because she was also violating the safety regulations when she decided to unbuckle her seatbelt and pulled down the tray table during the plane’s final descent. When asked by a flight attendant to comply with the masking and seatbelt policy, and to prepare her tray table for landing, Quinonez pushed the flight attendant.
Just when the incident started, a passenger took his phone and caught the whole incident on camera. The video went viral in days back in May. From what was seen in the video, later used as evidence in court, the woman punched the flight attendant multiple times in the face and pulled her hair.
The flight attendat suffered injuries all over her head and face. She asked for medical treatment as soon as the plane arrived in San Diego. According to the court documents, the flight attendant was admitted to hospital with a bruised, swollen eye, as well as a cut that required three stitches. Quinonez also chipped three of the flight attendant’s teeth, two of which needed replacing.
“The flight attendant who was assaulted was simply doing her job to ensure the safety of all passengers aboard the plane,” said Randy Grossman, acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California.
“It’s inexcusable for anyone to use violence on an airplane for any reason, particularly toward a flight attendant who is there to keep all the passengers safe. We are not going to tolerate violence or interference with the flight crew, and we will pursue criminal charges against those who break the law.”
Quinonez pleaded guilty to a charge of interference with flight crew members and attendants in a federal court on Wednesday, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. She faces a possible sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Quinonez’s sentencing is scheduled for March 11, 2022.