A federal grand jury in Utah has indicted a minor league baseball player on charges including interference with a flight crew after he allegedly assaulted a Delta Air Lines flight attendant and spit on fellow passengers, court records show.
Darnel Silver Collins, 19, a minor league first baseman and outfielder in the Kansas City Royals organization, was a passenger onboard a Delta flight from the Netherlands to Salt Lake City, when he engaged in “unruly and abusive behavior,” U.S. Attorney Trina A. Higgins for the District of Utah announced Wednesday following his indictment.
“Collins continued to cause problems and had to be consistently monitored for the remaining nine hours of the flight,” Higgins’ office wrote in a press release.
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Restrained on a nine-hour flight
According to court papers filed in U.S. District Court, on Jan. 21, Collins had to be restrained by flight attendants and passengers “due to his actions” on board Delta Flight 57 which took off from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
Collins, a citizen of the Netherlands, was “threatening and abusive to other passengers and to crew members,” an FBI agent wrote in a seven-page criminal complaint,
One hour into the flight
About an hour into the flight, court documents show, passengers observed Collins being “loud and disruptive to passengers around him which included tapping passengers. Throughout the flight, his behavior escalated.”
During the flight, the complaint continues, Collins began to follow another passenger who eventually requested assistance from a flight attendant for him to leave her alone. He continuously touched the passenger, and “eventually she physically pushed her away from him.”
He also reportedly approached another woman as she exited a restroom, physically grabbed her arm and did not release her until another passenger and flight crew member intervened.
“Approximately eight passengers were moved from the area around Collins’ seat to avoid further problems,” the FBI agent wrote.
Once in the back of the aircraft, Collins “intentionally spit” on another passenger, striking at least two people with saliva and reportedly cursed at another flight attendant and made her feel “unsafe.”
‘Physically restrained in flexicuffs’
Due to his “continued unwanted touching of other passengers,’ Collins was physically restrained in flexicuffs by the flight crew and was taken into custody upon arrival at Salt Lake City International Airport.
Collins is in the United States on a Visa used by athletes and performers.
According to prosecutors in the case, he travels between the U.S. and the Netherlands during the baseball off-season. At the time of his arrest, he was living in Surprise, Arizona.
Minor league baseball player due to appear in court
Collins is charged with interference with a flight crew and assault by striking, beating, and wounding.
Collins was set to appear before a judge for his initial court appearance on the charges Thursday at the Orrin G. Hatch United States District Courthouse in downtown Salt Lake City.
Natalie Neysa Alund is a senior reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at [email protected] and follow her on X @nataliealund.