The Justice Department’s Criminal Division announced Tuesday a former Department of Defense contractor, who piloted a cargo plane from South Korea to Japan while intoxicated pleaded guilty.
Sixty-one-year-old Daniel R. Criss of Mims, Florida pleaded guilty to one count of operating an aircraft, while under the influence of alcohol, according to court documents. Mims was employed by the Armed Forces at the time.
On July 14, 2015, the company Criss was employed with was contracted with the Department of Defense’s U.S. Transportation Command. On that date, Criss piloted a Boeing 747 aircraft from the Osan Air Base in South Korea to Anchorage, Alaska. The flight included a stopover in Yokota Air Base in Japan. Upon arrival to the Osan Air Base around 10 a.m., Criss was already intoxication, according to court records.
Criss’ co-pilots observed Criss experiencing issues with trying to write down the air traffic control clearance. They approached him regarding their concerns, but he told them that he had not slept well and was tired. As the pilot-in command, Criss remained in control of the aircraft, even though he was intoxicated.
When the plan neared the Yokota air space and began to descend, Criss missed several radio calls, ran an incorrect landing checklist and lost situational awareness. Upon landing, Criss taxied the aircraft to the runway at a speed higher than normal. Criss fell asleep temporarily, woke up and feel asleep again after the aircraft arrived at the ramp, according to court records.
Around 2 p.m., Criss’ co-pilots called for assistance, as they believed he was having a medical emergency. Medical personnel noted that Criss’s breath smelled of alcohol and his speech was slurred. Around 3:20 p.m., he submitted a blood sample to test his blood alcohol level, which revealed an estimated BAC of .144%. It was determined that Criss’ BAC was somewhere between 0.152% and -.146%, when he was operating the plane.