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Thursday, August 18, 2022

A woman who assaulted a Southwest Airlines flight attendant is sentenced to 15 months in prison

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A woman who assaulted a Southwest Airlines flight attendant after being told to fasten her seatbelt before landing was finally sentenced to 15 months in jail and ordered to pay more than $33,000 in restitution and fines.

Late last year, Vyvianna M. Quinonez of Sacramento pleaded guilty to interfering with a Southwest Airlines flight attendant, but her sentence was postponed while the court dealt with a separate DUI allegation.

Prosecutors had previously wanted only four months in prison as part of a plea deal for the assault on a Southwest trip from Sacramento to San Diego in May 2021. After smartphone footage of Quinonez yelling at the flight attendant was made public, the event went viral.

Quinonez was requested to secure her seatbelt, latch her tray table, and wear her face mask appropriately shortly before landing in San Diego. Quinonez responded to the flight attendant by rising up and striking her in the face many times.

Three of the flight attendant’s teeth were chipped, and two of them required crowns. She also needed stitches for a cut beneath her eye, as well as bruises around her left eye and a bruise on her right forearm in the shape of fingers.

“Attacks on flight crew members, who perform vital jobs to ensure passenger safety, will not be tolerated,” commented U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman following the sentencing.

The 29-year-old suspect was found guilty of one count of interfering with flight crew personnel and was forced to pay $25,981.57 in restitution and a $7,500 fine in addition to his prison sentence. Quinonez will also be on supervised release for three years.

Quinonez was supposed to be sentenced earlier this year, but she was caught in January for DUI when the California Highway Patrol noticed her driving erratically.

Quinonez claimed that gastric band surgery caused her blood alcohol content to rise unnaturally as part of her defense.

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