Jury convicts Florida co-pilot of operating plane drunk

Mug shot of Sean Fitzgerald.

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.

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.