An air traffic controller who once bungled a flight carrying Michelle Obama has landed in trouble when he was caught driving on Long Island with illegal guns and crystal meth which he said he smokes to stay awake, according to a report.
Breen Peck, 52, of Redkey, Ind., who works at a major New York City control area in Westbury, was nabbed Wednesday night on drug and weapons charges during a traffic stop in Wantagh, Nassau police said.
Cops stopped his 2010 Toyota FJ Cruiser at 10:10 p.m. for illegal window tint and failure to signal, but he told them there was a loaded handgun behind his seat and another in a rear cargo area, cops said. During the stop, the cops also recovered meth from his pants pocket, police said.
“That’s meth, I smoke it to stay awake, I’m an air traffic controller,” Peck, an FAA employee since 1991, told police, Newsday reported, citing court documents.
Peck was transferred from the Warrenton, Va., air traffic control center several years ago after the incident with the first lady’s plane, the Washington Post reported.
He was retrained and assigned to the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control, or TRACON, in Westbury, which controls flights into and out of JFK, LaGuardia and other area airports, according to the paper and the FAA.
The FAA said in a statement that Peck is “assigned to the facility’s training program” but is not working as a controller.
“The FAA is investigating the circumstances related to the investigation,” the agency said.
In April 2011, Peck was directing a plane carrying the first lady and Jill Biden on approach to Andrews Air Force Base — allowing it to get too close to the wake turbulence of a military cargo plane, the Washington Post reported. The White House plane aborted its landing.
A year earlier, he directed a United Airlines flight that almost collided with a smaller jet carrying a Wisconsin congressman — prompting the United pilot to say, “That was close,” the paper reported.
FAA spokeswoman Arlene Salac would not address the mishaps.
Peck was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of a controlled substance and “numerous” vehicle and traffic law violations, police said. He was ordered held on $12,500 cash bail or $25,000 bond.