Man arrested after argument caused flight to divert could face further legal troubles, aviation expert says

The 41-year-old man who was arrested and caused a Breeze Airways flight from Orlando to divert to Jacksonville was charged with violating an injunction his ex-fiancé filed against him.

Evans Sims was in court Wednesday morning following an argument Sims had with his ex-girlfriend on the plane that sparked concerns about a possible “bomb threat.”

Sims was also accused of using the word “bomb” during the argument with his ex-fiancé on Flight 717, which was carrying hundreds of passengers on board.

Passengers told News4JAX that they heard the word “bomb” used during the argument between the two.

Sims told the judge in court that he didn’t say bomb. Instead, he said he used the word “calm.”

“I said she needed some calm because she wanted to move seats,” Sims said to the judge.

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Whether or not Sims said the word bomb during the flight, the judge made one thing clear that everyone should pay close attention to:

“Anytime you say the word bomb at the airport, you go to jail,” the judge said.

Aviation expert Ed Booth is an Aviation attorney with experience representing passengers accused of being unruly. He said Sims’ legal troubles are just beginning because of a recent federal aviation zero-tolerance policy.

“The rule is zero tolerance of any type of behavior that interferes with the flight crew, threatens harm to passengers, or the airplane,” Booth said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations is still investigating the events that led up to the plane being diverted which means criminal charges against Sims are pending.

Booth said Sims can still expect a fine of up to $30,000 from the Federal Aviation Authority. He also said that based on his experience with these kinds of cases, Sims should expect a bill from Breeze Airlines.

“The cost to Breeze Airlines from this diversion in dealing with the needs of the other passengers last night could easily exceed $100,000. And I suspect they will be sending the bill,” Booth said.

Booth suggested the best way to prevent an argument from escalating on an airplane is to see if you create distance by switching seats with another passenger.

Booth said Sims could be banned from flying on Breeze Airways. He also said Sims could be subjected to additional screenings every time he flies a commercial flight.

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