US Attorney Reports Man Sentenced To 10 years In Prison For Driving Onto Sky Harbor Airport Runway

PHOENIX – LAWFUEL – Damian Lancelot Holmes, 31, of Phoenix, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Stephen M. McNamee to 10 years and 4 months in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to intentionally driving through a fence and onto an active runway at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. Holmes was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $27,130.67 to Sky Harbor Airport. Holmes pleaded guilty to Violence at an International Airport on April 10, 2008.

On June 30, 2005, Holmes stole a Nissan pickup truck in the area of 7th Street and Thunderbird Road. A police chase ensued with Phoenix Police Department utilizing police cars and a police helicopter. Driving in dangerous manner, Holmes eventually drove onto the property of Sky Harbor Airport. Holmes entered the parking lot of the airport fire station and police blocked his only entry/exit with patrol cars. Holmes crashed the truck through the security fence bordering the taxi area of the airport and entered the secured area of the south runway of the airport. As he crashed through the fence, several police officers fired at the truck to prevent Holmes from interfering with airplanes which were on the active runway. Holmes proceeded west on the runway at a high rate of speed and drove under the wings of several aircraft which were in the process of taking off. Holmes’ actions put several planes and their passengers in danger.

The control tower had to order all air traffic on the runway to cease their operations. Holmes continued to flee from the police and drove toward a gate located at corner of the south runway. Holmes ran through an airport fence and two police cars chased him as he tried to escape through a second fence. Holmes’ stolen truck became stuck in the second fence as the two police cars rammed the truck to prevent Holmes from crashing through the airport fence and gate. Holmes was taken into custody and arrested by the Phoenix Police Department for several state criminal violations. Holmes’ actions caused substantial damage to the airport security fences and other facilities.

The sentencing occurred on Monday, June 30, 2008. The investigation in this case was conducted by the Phoenix Police Department. The prosecution was handled by Charles F. Hyder and Keith E. Vercauteren, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.


RELEASE NUMBER: 2008-174(Holmes)

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