Security in Review after Man Wanders onto Chicago Airfield

Allegedly drunk man believed to have walked through a security gate at same time a vehicle entered


Aviation officials are trying to learn how an allegedly intoxicated man was able to walk through a security gate and onto the airfield at Midway Airport, an official said Wednesday.

The incident prompted a brief shutdown of part of the airfield Sunday, forcing one arriving plane to circle around until it was reopened, Chicago Department of Aviation spokeswoman Wendy Abrams said.

The man apparently entered a service gate, possibly at the same time a vehicle was entering, Abrams said. He was spotted standing between two runways and was arrested.

Abrams said an FBI investigation determined that "this was likely an isolated event and this individual posed no major security threat." An FBI spokesman in Chicago did not immediately return a call seeking comment Wednesday.

The federal Transportation Security Administration is investigating, said spokeswoman Lara Uselding.

Mark Mechniek, 22, of Chicago, was charged with reckless conduct and trespassing to airport property. No public phone listing could be found for him.

A city-employed guard who was on duty at the gate was put on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, Abrams said.


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