Patrick Swayze had “slurred speech and bloodshot eyes” to go with the box of beer in his plane when he emerged from his aircraft after a headline-making emergency landing June 1 in Arizona, witnesses have belatedly told police. “Belatedly” is actually the key word there. Three construction workers are facing misdemeanor charges after allegedly lying to authorities about the events surrounding Swayze’s misadventure in the desert.
Swayze himself is facing no accusations of wrongdoing from Prescott Valley, Ariz., authorities. And, specifically, police there say they have “no substantial physical evidence” that he was drunk while at the controls of his 1978 Cessna.
The guys in trouble — three men, ages 20, 23 and 27 — are the guys who originally told police that the 46-year-old “Dirty Dancing” star (accompanied by his two dogs) emerged from his broken-down plane and thumbed a ride to safety all on his own, Prescott Valley Police Department spokesman P.J. Janik told Hollywood.com today.
But on Monday, local police — spurred on by tipsters and a report in the new edition of the Star — got back in touch with the men and heard them sing a new story. Janik said the men were not mere eyewitnesses but parties to Swayze’s rescue. According to the official, the men got rid of a box of beer (containing 30 bottles of Miller Lite — 10 of which were empty) in the plane, drove the actor to one of their homes, took him out to eat and put him up in a motel.
Janik said police have no idea when the empty beer bottles were emptied. Nor do police have any of the non-emptied bottles in their possession. (It’s believed the construction workers drained the bottles themselves the day after the near-crash.)
When quizzed by local police after the crash, Swazye was asked if he had been intoxicated while flying, Janik said. Swayze’s reply: No.
Swayze landed in Arizona during a planned flight from Van Nuys, Calif., to Las Vegas. The actor blamed a pressurization problem on the unscheduled touchdown.
There was no word yet on the Prescott Valley developments from the Federal Aviation Administration. When reached for comment, Swayze’s publicist, Annett Wolf, said the actor did nothing wrong.
As for the construction workers’ (revised) story of blurry eyes and beer bottles? Said Wolf: “People who change their stories to that extent — it’s hard to believe them one way or another.”