BOSTON – Between 75 and 100 passengers left their seats during a Miami-bound flight and headed for Richard C. Reid to try to restrain him when he allegedly tried to light explosives hidden in his shoes, a flight attendant testified.
Carole Nelson, the lead flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 63, said Tuesday that she saw Reid struggling with flight attendants and passengers.
``He was wild. He had wild eyes. He was struggling. He was like a wild animal,'' she said.
Nelson testified during a hearing Tuesday in U.S. District Court on Reid's motion to suppress a confession he allegedly made after his arrest.
Reid's lawyers say the confession should not be allowed because it was made after he was injected with sedatives during the struggle to subdue him. Prosecutors claim the sedatives had little or no effect on Reid by the time he had a formal interview with police later that day.
The hearing on the confession was scheduled to continue Wednesday.
Also Tuesday, a judge threw out one of nine charges against Reid, ruling that an airplane is not a vehicle under a new anti-terrorism law.
The charge — attempting to wreck a mass transportation vehicle — was filed under the USA Patriot Act, which was passed by Congress after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. U.S. District Judge William Young said that although an airplane was engaged in mass transportation it is not a vehicle as defined by the new law.
Reid is accused of trying to blow up Flight 63 during its flight from Paris to Miami three days before Christmas. He still faces eight charges, including attempted murder and attempted destruction of an aircraft.
Samantha Martin, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan, declined to comment on the ruling. She said no decision had been made on whether to appeal.
Reid's lawyer, Owen Walker, did not immediately return a call for comment.
Reid has been held without bail since his arrest. His trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 4.