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Minor league baseball player who spit on Delta passengers now facing federal charges, prosecutors say

SALT LAKE CITY (KTVX) – A minor league baseball player for an affiliate of the Kansas City Royals is facing federal charges after his alleged in-flight behavior made the plane’s crew feel “unsafe,” prosecutors say.

Darnel Collins, 19, is a Netherlands national who resides in Arizona on an international athlete visa, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Utah. He is sponsored by the Kansas City Baseball Corporation.

Collins is an outfielder for the the Arizona Complex League Royals, a rookie-level affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, per The team plays home games at Surprise Stadium in Arizona, just outside of Phoenix.

On Wednesday, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Collins with interference with a flight crew and assault by striking, beating and wounding in a special aircraft jurisdiction, prosecutors say.

According to investigators, Collins was so disruptive and abusive on a Jan. 21 Delta Air Lines flight from the Netherlands to Salt Lake City that the fight crew eventually restrained him with flexicuffs in the back of the plane.

The trouble started about an hour into the roughly 10-hour flight, when Collins became loud and disruptive, tapping people around him, court documents state. He then allegedly followed one woman until she pushed him away, and later grabbed another woman’s arm as she left the bathroom. He wouldn’t let go of the woman until the flight crew intervened, according to the documents.

In response, the crew moved several passengers sitting around Collins, but he turned around in his seat and engaged aggressively with the other travelers, the documents state. The crew moved him to the back of the aircraft, claiming they were concerned the aggressive behavior could escalate to a fight.

In the back of the plane Collins spit on another passenger, documents say, and continued to take off his seat belt and touch passengers as they walked by. The crew ultimately put flexicuffs on Collins and later connected several seat belt extenders together to strap his midsection to the seat.

Investigators noted that Collins made many of the flight attendants feel “unsettled and unsafe,” the court documents state.

Collins was arrested upon landing at Salt Lake City International Airport. The case remains under investigation by the an FBI task force office with the Salt Lake City Police Department.

Collins is slated to make his first court appearance in a Salt Lake City on Thursday.

Nexstar’s KTVX has reached out to the Kansas City Baseball Corporation for comment, but had not yet heard back as of Thursday morning.

Source: Fox 8 News Channel

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