Dec 17, 2015
1 comment

A Richmond man allegedly choked and punched a woman on a Southwest Airlines flight in October because she reclined her seat, an incident that forced the pilot to ground the plane, according to the FBI and the Los Angeles Times.

Lawrence Wells, 54, is charged with assault causing serious bodily injury in connection with the incident that occurred only 10 minutes into the flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco on Oct. 18.

Along with a passenger Tweeting about the incident involving a dispute over a reclined seat, comedian Mark Curry, a radio show host, reported to a TV news station that he awoke to the victim’s shouts, according to the Times.

“The woman was saying he grabbed her neck. ‘He choked me, he choked me! He hit me in the head!'” Curry said.

After being told of the assault, the aircraft’s captain declared an emergency return to the Los Angeles airport, FBI officials said.

If convicted, Wells faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.


  1. I’m pretty sure if she was able to yell out loud he’s choking me that she wasn’t getting choked LOL

    RealRichmond | Dec 17th, 2015

About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.