CLEVELAND- The FOX 8 I-Team has obtained police radio recordings revealing more about a security breakdown at Cleveland Hopkins Airport when a driver went onto the airfield and went unnoticed for a very long time.
The incident happened in the wee hours of Sunday morning. A suspected drunk driver plowed through a gate, drove onto the airfield, and records show he stayed in the restricted area undetected for 55 minutes.
Police radio tapes show airport security didn’t discover what happened. A private security guard did.
A dispatcher can be heard saying, “I have a security guard that called in. There’s a yellow SUV that’s wedged in at this location between the fence. Not sure how the vehicle got there.”
The radio traffic reveals airport security didn’t know what had happened and also was unprepared to handle it.
A police supervisor can be heard on the radio asking, “Airport is handling correct?” And the dispatcher responds, “They’re not handling. They’re requesting that we respond.
“They’re not equipped to handle intoxicated individuals.”
The I-Team went to the mayor’s office. For days, city hall has said no one will talk about this until an investigation wraps up.
A report also shows a police officer assigned to the incident didn’t even get the call until 28 minutes after the security guard had spotted the driver in the restricted area.
We asked the mayor’s office, how does the public know whether or not anything’s been changed to prevent this from happening again? The answer to every question we asked came back to, “It’s under investigation.”
Cleveland keeps officers assigned to the airport. So, the I-Team is asking where were they? What was happening in the control tower? And more. Since nobody is answering questions at city hall, or the airport, or police headquarters, we’re waiting on records we’ve requested through the city law department.
We also went to city council looking for the head of the Council Transportation Committee. We waited more than an hour, but Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland did not come out to see us. We were told she was in meetings.
No telling how long the city’s investigation will take. Or, how long it may be until we get those records from the Law Department.
The driver arrested, Daniel Allen. He was not at the address listed on court records when the I-Team visited. His case will be heard by a grand jury for consideration of felony charges.
So how could the airport police and security not be equipped to handle a drunk driver? We’ve learned they do not have blood alcohol testing equipment there. However, citywide patrol officers often have to make special arrangements to take a suspect somewhere to get tested.