A Texas woman has been accused of assaulting a US flight attendant who woke up her husband and asked him to wear a face mask, according to the US Attorney’s Office.
Debby Dutton, 50, appeared in federal court on Friday in Houston, Texas charged with interference with an aircraft flight by assault upon a flight attendant, facing a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine.
Prosecutors say that Dutton pushed a United Airline flight attendant twice after they tapped her sleeping husband on the shoulder, waking him up and asking him to put on a face mask as required by federal mandate.
The flight attendant was left with bruises on their bicep and described being caught off guard, feeling threatened and afraid.
Several safety announcements were broadcast at the beginning of the flight reminding passengers that masks were required on federal flights and saying that sleeping passengers without masks would be woken up.
The complaint alleges that after the flight attendant tapped on her husband’s shoulder, Dutton stood up and began shouting at them.
Dutton allegedly pushed the flight attendant twice on their right arm, while they asked her to return to her seat, which she eventually did.
The flight attendant immediately reported the alleged incident to the captain and sought medical attention after the flight.
Law enforcement officers interviewed multiple passengers who either saw or heard part of the incident.
Dutton is scheduled to appear in Houston federal court on Tuesday. She has been released from custody.