Car Chase on Runway Temporarily Shuts Down Philadelphia Airport

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Travelers at Philadelphia International Airport faced flight delays Thursday morning, but it wasn’t because of bad weather or technical difficulties. It was because an allegedly drunk driver was barreling down the runway in a Jeep.

Airport officials halted all inbound and outbound air traffic for about 40 minutes after a man somehow drove his Jeep Cherokee through a fence and onto the tarmac around 10 a.m., NBC Philadelphia reports. The man, identified as 24-year-old Kenneth Richard Mazik of Chadds Ford, Penn., faces a laundry list of charges which includes driving under the influence, risking a catastrophe, fleeing police, reckless endangerment, defiant trespass, assault on law enforcement and simple assault.

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When alerted of the incident, police chased Mazik down two runways for almost three miles, managing to surround his car at the opposite end of the airport. Mazik reached speeds of more than 100 mph, air traffic controllers said. Before the chase, witnesses reportedly saw Mazik’s Jeep parked behind a gate, but his motives remain unclear. When police searched the vehicle for weapons or explosives, none were found.

Mazik has had previous run-ins with police for trespassing and disorderly conduct, NBC Philadelphia reports. Following Thursday’s incident, he was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for drug and alcohol tests and a psychiatric evaluation.

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