Michigan jury convicts co-pilot of operating plane drunk

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan jury has convicted a Florida co-pilot of being drunk while preparing for a charter airline flight last summer.

The jury in Grand Rapids federal court convicted 35-year-old Sean Michael Fitzgerald on Friday of operating a common carrier under the influence of alcohol. The Grand Rapids Press reports he’ll be sentenced Sept. 19.

Fitzgerald, of Boca Raton, was arrested Aug. 25 at Traverse City’s Cherry Capital Airport while preparing for a Talon Air flight to Massachusetts. He had a blood-alcohol level of 0.34 percent, which is more than four times the legal limit for driving and 17 times the legal limit for flying a plane.

Fitzgerald told police that he had two beers at lunch the previous day.

His attorney argued Fitzgerald didn’t actually fly the plane.

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