Ex-NJ gov. Chris Christie's niece kicked off flight, injures 6 deputies

Shannon Epstein accused a Latino family of "smuggling drugs" on a Spirit Airlines flight and allegedly injured six sheriff's deputies when they tried to escort her off the plane.

A logo of low cost carrier Spirit Airlines is pictured on an Airbus plane in Colomiers near Toulouse (photo credit: REGIS DUVIGNAU/REUTERS)
A logo of low cost carrier Spirit Airlines is pictured on an Airbus plane in Colomiers near Toulouse
(photo credit: REGIS DUVIGNAU/REUTERS)

The niece of former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was escorted from a Spirit Airlines flight and arrested after she accused a Latino family of "smuggling drugs" and allegedly injuring six sheriff's deputies.

Shannon Epstein was on an early morning flight from New Orleans to New Jersey on Thanksgiving when she asked a Latino family who was sitting near her if they were "smuggling cocaine."

The plane had already started to taxi on the runway when airline staff requested that it turn back to the gate so they could escort her off the plane, according to Capt. Jason Rivarde, a Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office spokesperson.

What happened to Chris Christie's niece on the Spirit Airlines flight?

When the deputies arrived at the scene, Epstein refused to get off the jet bridge and go to the terminal. When they tried to arrest her, she became aggressive and refused arrest.

 A slogan of low cost carrier Spirit Airlines is pictured on an engine in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, November 6, 2018 (credit: REUTERS/REGIS DUVIGNAU) A slogan of low cost carrier Spirit Airlines is pictured on an engine in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, November 6, 2018 (credit: REUTERS/REGIS DUVIGNAU)

“Throughout her entire interaction with deputies, she repeatedly stated that they would lose their jobs or be arrested because of her familial relationships.”

Capt. Jason Rivarde, Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office spokesperson

Epstein injured six deputies, biting one on the arm, through the skin and kicking another deputy in the groin, according to media reports. They were both treated by paramedics at the scene.

She caused more of a scene when she started yelling and screaming. "Throughout her entire interaction with deputies, she repeatedly stated that they would lose their jobs or be arrested because of her familial relationships," Rivarde told The New York Post.

It took seven deputies to handcuff Epstein to a wheelchair, Rivarde said. As she was being wheeled off to the airport security office, she kept screaming vulgar things and tried to bite more deputies, he added.

"She was charged with six counts of battery on a police officer, three of disturbing the peace, one of resisting arrest by force and one of remaining after [being] forbidden," Rivarde said. She paid $10,750 bail and was released later that day from the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center.

Rivarde said that Epstein is scheduled to return to Jefferson Parish for a court appearance on January 23 with the possibility of it moving to federal court.