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Unruly NJ Man With Meth Subdued With Benadryl After Biting Airline Passenger's Ear, Police Say

John Yurkovich Jr.
John Yurkovich Jr. Photo Credit: Charleston International Airport Police/Pixabay

A flight from Newark to Miami was forced to make an emergency landing when a 45-year-old New Jersey man who had methamphetamine on him bit another passenger's ear and punched him in the face, authorities said.

A doctor on the plane then tried to subdue John Yurkovich Jr., by giving him a shot of Benadryl on United Airlines flight 728 last Wednesday, officials told the Raleigh News & Observer.

It all began when Yurkovich got up to use the bathroom, and when he sat back down in his seat he became agitated, the outlet says.

"The suspect got up from his seat again to retrieve what appeared to be pills from his carry-on bag in one of the overhead bins,” according to an incident report. "The suspect then sat back down in his seat and began to scream and thrash around."

The passenger raised his arm as protection after Yurkovich -- reportedly from Matawan -- began yelling at him, authorities said. 

Things got worse as Yurkovich punched the passenger several times in the face, breaking his glasses, then bit his ear causing excessive bleeding, authorities said.

Yurkovich punched two people in the face as they tried restraining him, one who may have sustained a broken nose, authorities said.

A doctor on the plane administered a Benadryl injection into Yurkovich's buttocks, the Raleigh News & Observer says citing police records, before he was bound with zip ties and a belt.

The flight diverted to Charleston and police responded to the plane on reports of someone's ear being bitten off, the outlet says.

Responding officers found Yurkovich with his hands behind his back and shirt covering his face, police said.

A search turned up 1.5 grams of methamphetamine in Yurkovich's pocket, and he was arrested on charges of possession with intent to distribute, assault and committing a criminal act on an aircraft, police said.

Yurkovich's lawyer, Rose Mary Parham, said the incident was very "uncharacteristic" of him. He was released on $50,000 bond “because of his lack of criminal history," the attorney said.

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