Man Arrested In Portland After Driving Under A Taxiing Aircraft

A man has been arrested in Portland after he drove his family onto an active taxiway under a moving aircraft. The incident, which occurred on Sunday, was swiftly resolved by county police with the perpetrator incurring criminal charges. Here’s what happened.

Sunset at PDX
Sedan drives under taxiing aircraft at Portland Airport. Photo: Portland International Airport

Getaway through Portland Airport

Portland International Airport is the largest airport in the state of Oregon, United States, and presents the perfect opportunity for a getaway. A vacation getaway that is. However, last week the airport was put through its paces after an unexpected arrival on its runway.

The incident happened on Sunday 16th August, just after 19:37 local time (02:37 +1 UTC) and involved a family of four in their sedan. According to reports, a vehicle crashed through gates at the north side of Portland Airport after coming off a nearby road.

An employee from the airport promptly drew attention to the car and asked it to stop. The driver, a father with his wife and two young children, obliged. The airport called police to the scene, and the culprit initially cooperated with their inquiry.

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Airlines parked at PDX
It is unclear which airline was involved in the incident. Photo: Portland International Airport

The driver of the vehicle told police that he had been left without options after being chased by several trucks on the highway. Portland Airport was his only opportunity to escape.

The driver makes another escape

However, after speaking with police officers, the 24-year-old, who was named as Ulises Tejeda-Ayala, returned to his vehicle and drove off with one of his children. On his escape, he headed straight underneath a moving aircraft that was taxiing to the runway.

Plane take off from PDX
No delays were reported after the incident. Photo: Portland International Airport

Thankfully, the sharp wit of the pilot meant that no one was harmed. The aircraft stopped while to sedan carried on, coming to rest at Portland Airport’s E Gates. According to a report shared with Simple Flying, a police statement said,

“Near the area of gate E8, the vehicle once again stopped on the ramp, and the driver hung his body and hands outside of the window. The occupants of the vehicle were detained, and the vehicle was secured and later removed from the airfield.”

It is unclear which commercial airline was affected by the incident.

An unusual arrest

Police arrested the driver and placed him in Multnomah County Jail. They later charged him with three felonies:

  • criminal mischief;
  • attempt to elude; and
  • assaulting a police officer.

Mr. Tejeda-Ayala has now been released ahead of his scheduled court appearance.

taxiway at heathrow airport
Taxiways and runways are busy and dangerous places. Photo: Getty Images

It’s not often that airports have to deal with incidents of this kind. For obvious reasons, airports are enclosed spaces that present a significant danger to anyone caught trespassing. Particularly, when it comes to aircraft in operation. Thanks to the responsiveness of airport staff and the affected pilot on this occasion, this situation was handled without casualties.

What do you make of this incident? Have your say in the comments.