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FOX59 Exclusive: Howard County woman says man kissed her, spit on her aboard flight to Indianapolis

HOWARD COUNTY, Ind. - Shauna Smith thought she would have a relaxing evening flight from Miami to Indianapolis Friday. However, the encounter she said she had with another male passenger was anything but calm.

She said a man talking incessantly sitting one seat ahead of her and to the left moved to sit beside her after her seat mate moved. Immediately, she said his remarks to her were explicit.

"He began making references to minors and sexual intercourse," Smith said. "The conversations went back and forth between his family and then back to sexual content then back to his family then back to sexual content again."

But, he did not stop there. Soon, Smith said he made physical advances.

"He leaned in and kissed me on the cheek, and I kind of turned my head a little bit, and was just so taken back," Smith recalled. "He did it again. He said, 'I like that, I want to do it again.' And, did it again."

Smith said she felt like she could not get away from Hatcher. She said he put his personal belongings on her tray table so she could not get up. Plus, she was sitting in a window seat.

"At one point I was leaning up against the window and he was in my face," Smith said. "I could feel his breath on me. He spit on my chest."

Smith said Hatcher also had bottles of alcohol with him he said he purchased on another flight.

"He opened his own bottle of vodka and poured it in," Smith said. "This was his second drink that he had done that with."

According to the police report, the arresting officer gave Hatcher a breathalyzer test that showed he had no alcohol in his system. According to the same report, the flight attendant saw Hatcher with the alcohol bottle which passengers are not legally allowed to bring on a flight if it was not purchased on the flight.

Smith said she finally got a flight attendant's attention.

"She asked me if I was with him unto which I shook my head no and I mouthed the words 'Help me' to her,'" Hatcher said.

The police report said once the flight attendant alerted the captain of the flight, he called airport police who were waiting at the aircraft when it arrived.

Officers arrested Hatcher at the airport and led him to a Marion County Sheriff's Office vehicle. Authorities then transported him to the county jail.

Now, the man connected to this encounter is facing criminal charges. Indianapolis Airport Police arrested and charged 61-year-old Reginald Hatcher with battery and disorderly conduct. He bonded out of jail on April 27 following the arrest. His next court date is next month.

FOX59 reached out to American Airlines for a comment on this situation. Their corporate communications sent this statement:

“We were made aware of the incident from our colleagues at Republic Airlines, and our team has reached out to her directly.”

Jon Austin, with Republic Airlines Corporate Communications, provided FOX59 with this statement:

“When our flight attendant became aware of a passenger’s aggressive and unwelcome conduct in violation of our rules and directed toward another passenger, she acted to separate the passengers and our crew requested that the flight be met by law enforcement officers upon landing. In this situation, as in all others, our crew members are trained and empowered to act to protect the safety of their passengers and their fellow crew members.”

This flight from Miami to Indianapolis was operated by Republic Airlines under American Airlines. The crew aboard was employed by Republic.

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