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Saudi teen arrested again after disrupting flight

 Posted: 2:10 PM February 22, 2012

A man who led Ashland police on a car-crashing chase through town Sunday night has been arrested again, this time on a federal charge of interfering with flight crew members on a plane out of Portland.

Yazeed Mohammed Abunayyan, 19, of Saudi Arabia, is appearing in U.S. District Court in Portland this afternoon.

He was taken into custody Tuesday after he was removed from a Continental Airlines flight that had returned to Portland International Airport, FBI spokeswoman Beth Anne Steel.

He had refused to turn off an electronic cigarette "yelling profanities and swinging his fist at the flight attendant, hitting or attempting to hit several passengers, and speaking or singing about Usama bin Laden and his hatred of women," a federal indictment said. His action caused the flight attendant to deviate from safety protocols by unbuckling her restraints and leaving her seat during takeoff, thereby forcing the flight to alter its route and return to Portland, the indictment said.

The Oregonian reports Flight 1118 returned about half an hour after taking off for Houston because the man was not cooperative.

E-cigarettes, which heat a liquid nicotine solution, are not specifically prohibited by the Transportation Safety Administration — like tobacco cigarettes — on commercial planes. However they are banned by Continental Airlines.

On Sunday, Abunayyan reportedly was spinning circles in a car on Siskiyou Boulevard, driving erratically, and trying to run over pedestrians. He led police on a 20-minute chase back and forth through town, ramming two police cars before high-centering his car on a dirt embankment at the dead end of Clear Creek Drive. He was arrested on charges of driving under the influence of intoxicants, reckless driving, eluding police, two charges of first-degree criminal mischief, three charges of hit and run, six charges of reckless endangerment, and two charges of assault on an officer, but posted 10 percent on his $65,000 bail.

— Associated Press and staff reports

Information from: The Oregonian,

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