Saudi Teen Tied to Ashland Car Chase Arrested Again for Disturbing PDX Flight

, Posted: Wed, February 22 2012 at 11:54 PM, Updated: Thu, February 23 2012 at 8:37 PM

A teenager who led police on a crazy chase through downtown Ashland over the weekend is behind bars again -this time for causing a commotion on a plane that forced a Continental flight from Portland bound for Houston to make an emergency landing. NBC5's Laura Cavanaugh reports.


Tense moments for passengers aboard a Continental flight from Portland Tuesday afternoon.  Their flight, bound for Houston, had to turn around when a passenger refused to put out his e-cigarette upon takeoff.

According to this federal indictment, when a flight attendant directed this man, Yazeed Mohammed Abunayyan to stop smoking, the 19 year-old Saudi national began yelling profanities and swinging his fist at the flight attendant.

"Every guy who was in my area was ready to go," said passenger Mark Foster,  "Buckles were off."

This cell phone video shows male passengers helping the flight attendant subdue Abunayyan, who was, according to court documents, singing about Osama Bin Laden and his hatred of women.

The pilot decided to return to PDX, where Abunayyan and his companion were escorted off the plane.

"He was screaming Allah is great," said Nancy Haywood, a passenger on Continental Flight 1118.

Abunayyan was charged with interfering with the operation of the aircraft in federal court.

"I could not believe it when I found out today that this guy already got out on bail, went to Portland and was starting mischief on a plane," said Ashland resident, Julie Akins.

The Sonoma State University student is the same man who was arrested Sunday in Ashland for DUI and attempting to elude officers after police say he hit patrol cars and nearly ran over pedestrians during a police chase.

"I was just terrified.  I was shaking," said Akins, who witnessed the chase.

NBC5 News Director, Julie Akins, was driving home from her daughter's house Sunday night on Siskiyou Boulevard when she witnessed a vehicle driving erratically, trying to run over pedestrians.

"He almost hits a guy in the parking lot while the cops are trying to stop him and he races off again the wrong way down Siskiyou," said Akins.

Akins called 9-1-1.  Ashland Police say the intoxicated teen led them on a 20-minute chase through town.

"He ended up ramming at least one patrol car.  Police were involved in trying to stop him. Pedestrians were endangered, " said Jackson County District Attorney Mark Huddleston.

Huddleston says the teen was charged with DUI, reckless driving, eluding police, and assault on an officer, among others.  But Abunayyan posted 10-percent of his $65,000 bail the next day.

"If he was leaving the state, that's clearly a violation of his release conditions. So then bail wasn't high enough," said Huddleston.

Abunayyan is in federal custody.  He is scheduled to appear in Jackson County Court on March 20th.  As for what charges happen going forward, the D.A. says since some of the charges are felonies, they have to be presented to a Grand Jury.  That will happen sometime early next week.


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