Trial rescheduled for passenger accused of drunken, motorized luggage chase at Orlando airport

Chelsea Alston’s now-viral video was first reported by News 6

ORLANDO – The trial has been pushed back for a New Jersey woman accused of repeatedly spitting on an Orlando police officer and damaging his patrol car.

Chelsea Alston originally made headlines when she appeared in a now-viral video first obtained by News 6 that shows her riding a motorized suitcase through the Orlando airport as a police officer on a bicycle followed behind her.

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A judge agreed to push the trial back slightly, in part, because Alston fired her attorney.

“You are firing your attorney the morning of trial. What is your plan?” the judge asked.

“I told him last week that I didn’t want to continue with him,” Alston said.

A public defender will now represent Alston as she continues to plead not guilty to charges of battering a police officer and causing more than $1,000 in property damage.

Alston was traveling from Orlando to New York in April when a Southwest Airlines gate agent refused to let her board because she appeared to be intoxicated, officials said.

After an Orlando police officer instructed Alston to return to the main terminal to sober up and book a later flight, Alston rode away from the gate on a scooter-like electric vehicle mounted to her luggage.

The officer repeatedly ordered Alston to leave the secured area of the airport, but she did not immediately do so, video from the incident shows.

After warning Alston that she could be arrested for remaining in the secure area without a valid boarding pass, Alston appeared to spit on the officer, the video shows.

Court records reveal Alston spit on the officer a second time, striking him in the eye, after she was placed in handcuffs.

Alston later ripped apart a fabric headliner inside the officer’s patrol car and defecated in the seat, causing an estimated $1,200 in damage, according to her arrest report.

Alston was previously offered a plea deal from prosecutors, who said they would withhold adjudication if she paid for the damage caused to the patrol car, completed 75 hours of community service and took some anger management classes.

She turned it down and is expected back in court in a few weeks for her trial. If convicted she faces a maximum of five years in prison for each felony count.

Alston refused to comment on the case after her court hearing on Monday.


About the Author:

Award-winning investigative reporter Merris Badcock joined the News 6 team in October 2020. Merris is the recipient of a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award, a Suncoast Regional Emmy Award, four Suncoast Emmy Regional nominations, and two first-place Florida Association of Broadcast Journalists’ Awards.