Man Charged With Driving Drunk on Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport Tarmac

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- When police arrested the man the signs of drunkeness were common - his breath smelled of alcohol, his eyes were bloodshot and his balance was off - but the charge was unusual, driving drunk on the tarmac of the international airport.

According to criminal charges filed Thursday in Hennepin County District Court, airport police arrested Ronald O. Ogembo, 35 of Hopkins, on Tuesday at the Minneapolis St. Paul-International Airport.

Ogembo drove a service van for airline catering company LSG Sky Chefs, a unit of the German airline Lufthansa. He acknowledged driving the van at work Tuesday and servicing an airplane parked at one of the gates.

Authorities allegedly found he had a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit for driving. The complaint said Ogembo told an officer he had two or three beers at home before work.

Ogembo's driving record included two convictions for drunken driving-related offenses and his driver's license had been revoked in January. Airport police said a driver's license is required to drive on airport property.

A Northwest Airlines employee alerted police to Ogembo's condition, and officers found the caterer at Sky Chefs' airport offices. A local Sky Chefs manager did not immediately return a telephone message left Friday.

Metropolitan Airport Commission spokesman Patrick Hogan said in the four years he had been with the commission there had been no drunken driving arrests on the airfield.

''Obviously we don't want anyone driving under the influence anywhere in the airport area, especially on the tarmac,'' he said.

There are about 1,400 takeoffs and landings at the airport daily.