Gibson Defender Swayze's "Stupid Moment"

"Dirty Dancing" star had witnesses ditch booze after plane crash

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Gibson Defender Swayze's "Stupid Moment"

AUGUST 11--Normally, we salute those who rush to the aid of a friend in distress, but Patrick Swayze's recent claim that drunken pal Mel Gibson should be "allowed to have a stupid moment" is pretty funny considering the "Dirty Dancing" star has himself had a stupid moment involving alcohol and a vehicle.

In June 2000, after Swayze crashed his Cessna 414 airplane on an Arizona roadway, he asked three witnesses to the accident to help him dispose of a half-full case of beer and a bottle of wine that was 1/3 full (and stored under a plane seat).

The details of the Swayze crash and its aftermath are contained in a Prescott Valley Police report, a copy of which you can find here.

Following the accident, Swayze disappeared for about 12 hours, stymieing repeated attempts by investigators to get him to sit for an interview. When he finally turned up, police noted, the "minimum time required to obtain a toxicology sample" had expired. While witnesses reported that Swayze appeared impaired, he was never subjected to a Breathalyzer.

The actor denied consuming alcohol before or during the flight, which originated in Van Nuys, California and was bound for an airport near Swayze's New Mexico ranch. Swayze attributed the crash to a pressurization problem.

A subsequent National Transportation Safety Board report noted that two witnesses "smelled alcohol in the airplane, but not on the pilot" and that Swayze "asked the witnesses to make up a story about what they had seen."

While noting that tests for carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol, and drugs were not performed on Swayze, the NTSB determined that probable causes of the accident were Swayze's impairment from the "cumulative effects of carbon monoxide from engine exhaust by-products, carbon monoxide from heavy tobacco use, and the loss of an undetermined amount of cabin pressurization."

The actor was not charged in connection with the crash, though three construction workers who helped Swayze ditch the alcohol were arrested for making false statements to cops when first interviewed about the accident. Each of the men later pleaded to a single misdemeanor count. (15 pages)