Widow sues American Airlines baggage handler bomb threat accusation: ‘She lied through her teeth’

Debbie Cardarelli filed a lawsuit in the Court of Common pleas in Philadelphia, seeking more than $1 million in damages after an accident involved her late husband Richard.

(Bartolomeo & Perotto Funeral Home)

A widow is suing American Airlines, claiming a baggage handler made false accusations against her husband, that led to his arrest.

Debbie Cardarelli filed a lawsuit in the Court of Common pleas in Philadelphia, seeking more than $1 million in damage and high costs after an incident in March 2017 led to her husband’s arrest.

Debbie was flying home to Rochester, N. Y., with her husband, Richard S. Cardarelli, a vacation in Miami, Fla., The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The couple had a layover in Philadelphia and when they started to board the plane for the final leg of their journey, they were informed that the fully booked flight could not be more suitable for carry-on baggage.


Richard turned to his bag of American Airlines baggage handler Tawanda Ward, and went down to the board of directors. Almost immediately, though, Richard recalled his eye drops were still in the bag and turned around to pick them up.

Richard, that drops with him, because of a cornea transplant he had in 1980, asked Ward to get them out of his suitcase.

The American Airlines baggage handler claimed Richard had threatened to blow up the plane if he does not get his bag.


Ward, who had not yet moved the bag from where Richard had gave it to her, refused to let him open it, under the statement of the security policy.

“I’m sorry, sir, but now you have gave me the bag, can’t get the bag back,” Ward said, Debbie, recalled to The Washington Post.

According to the Petitioner, Richard involved two managers of the helpdesk in the terminal and was able to pick up his eye drops.

Richard and Debbie took their seats and waited to take off. Twenty minutes later, two Philadelphia police approached the couple and asked Richard to come with them.


Debbie told the Interviewer she thought it was about Ward’s behavior, which the couple had seen from the airplane window. Debbie claimed that Ward was visibly angry on the asphalt.

“I thought, ‘That woman must be in big trouble!'” Debbie said.


Video of the baggage handler throwing bags sparks debate

Although not end up being the reason – instead, Debbie learned District had claimed to be Richard of a bomb threat when she refused him access to his luggage.

In her declaration, Ward said Richard allegedly told her, “If I don’t get my bag back, it’s going to blow!” the Inquirer reported.

Richard was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct, threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction and the terrorist threats about a bomb. All passengers were forced to deplane while the authorities investigated.

“It was a nightmare,” Debbie Cardarelli said in an interview with The Washington Post.

“She lied through her teeth,” Debbie said. “It is so weird what I go through because someone lied.”

“It breaks my heart that his last birthday on the face of this earth was spent in the prison.”

– Debbie Cardarelli

Richard, who died in January from pancreatic cancer, spent the night in jail, and he came the next day, his 59th birthday, after Debbie posted on 20 percent of $25,000 bail, the Petitioner reported.

“It breaks my heart that his last birthday on the face of this earth was spent in the prison,” Debbie said.


Richard was eventually acquitted of all criminal charges after Ward’s claims were not credible.

But even getting to that part took a long time, as American Airlines postponement of the date of the court by refusing to respond to legal subpoenas and blocking of Richard at the last moment from taking an American Airlines flight from Rochester to Philadelphia for a legal procedure, the lawsuit claims.

American Airlines has refused Fox News’ request for comment.

Debbie is a hope to keep the airline is responsible for its actions, stating that the case has cost the couple more than $20,000 in legal costs and expenses and that she had to go to the treatment after the incident.

Alexandra Deabler is a Lifestyle writer and editor for Fox News.

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