Donald McQuarrie

At the age of fifty-three, Donald McQuarrie had just retired from his job as a drama professor at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. To celebrate, he and his wife decided to take a vacation in Hawaii.

Donald was an alcoholic. The night before he and his wife left Toronto, they drank a dozen bottles of beer together and and smoked some marijuana. At the airport they had three more beers.

Soon after the plane took off, Donald went to the washroom. While he was inside the washroom, he made a lot of noise by hitting the walls and the door. After going back to his seat he suddenly yelled, “We are all going to die! The plane is going to crash!”

One of the flight attendants told the pilot what was happening. The pilot left the cockpit and came into the cabin. He found Donald lying on the floor in the aisle and managed to get him to return to his seat. A few minutes later, Donald jumped up and ran toward the cockpit, yelling, “I want off this plane.”

Then the pilot came out of the cockpit for the second time, and Donald attacked him and kicked him in the chest. With the help of a passenger, the pilot managed to hold Donald and put handcuffs on him. When the plane landed in Detroit, some police officers got on and arrested Donald. He kicked them and tried to bite them before they were able to remove him from the plane.

When he appeared in court two weeks later, Donald pleaded guilty. He explained that, after going into the washroom, he took two big drinks of vodka from a bottle and then he suddenly saw a flash of light and thought the plane was crashing. When he was interviewed outside the courtroom, Donald was calm. He said he did not think he would ever be able to have another drink. He also said he was looking forward to teaching again because he loved that sort of work, but he added that, whatever he did he was going to live in a slower, quieter way. And he said that since he had been arrested, he had had a lot of time to think and that that had been a good thing. He now believes that everyone should spend part of their life concentrating on understanding themselves.

-information from the "Toronto Star," 01.01.03