Colorado pilot arrested for drinking before flight

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United Airlines pilot Erwin Washington pilot from Colorado who was arrested last November just before he was to have taken off from London, pleaded guilty yesterday in Britain to a charge of being over the legal alcohol limit.

Washington, 51, from Lakewood, was found in a breath test at the time of his arrest to have more than three times as much alcohol in his system as is permitted for an airline pilot.

Washington will be sentenced Feb. 5.

Washington was preparing to fly a United jet carrying 124 passengers and 11 crew members from London’s Heathrow Airport to Chicago when a co-worker smelled alcohol on his breath.

Police were summoned and the flight was canceled and passengers were placed on other jets.

A blood test performed shortly after the breath test also showed that Washington had 50 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood. The limit for pilots is 20 milligrams. the legal limit for driving a car is 80 milligrams.

United Airlines said in a statement that the pilot has been removed from service duty during legal proceedings and the company’s own investigation.

Washington’s lawyer, Chris Humphreys, said the pilot was remorseful.