Penngrove pilot pleads no contest in drunken flying case
Published: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 11:04 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 11:04 a.m.
A Penngrove pilot was sentenced Tuesday to four days in jail after pleading no contest to a charge of flying under the influence of alcohol.
Michael B. Ferrero, 62, had been charged with five counts, including reckless flying, after officers said they spotted him flying too low over Highway 37 and performing prohibited aerobatics on Jan. 3.
Ferrero was arrested after he failed a field sobriety test soon after landing at Petaluma Municipal Airport. Federal Aviation Administration officials last month ordered him to surrender his pilot's license.
Ferrero maintained that he was not intoxicated while flying but had merely taken a drink immediately after landing.
His lawyer appeared for him in court Tuesday, entering his plea to the single count of flying with a blood-alcohol level of 0.04 percent or greater.
Under the terms of his negotiated settlement, Ferrero will turn himself in at the Sonoma County jail on June 1. He also will be placed on electronic home confinement for 30 days and perform 26 days of community service.
He agreed not to taxi or fly his airplane for 90 days and he was ordered not to transport any alcohol in it.
In exchange, prosecutors dropped the other charges. He faced up to a year in jail if he had been convicted of all charges, said his lawyer, Martin Woods.
“I think the conditions adequately address all the safety concerns for the general public,” Woods said outside court. “He'll comply completely with the court orders.”
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