NEW YORK (CBS 2/1010 WINS) — He’s transformed from flight attendant to flat-out famous.
After one night on Rikers Island, CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reports Slater made his $2,500 bail on Tuesday. But that’s nothing compared to the $25,000 that will cost to replace the emergency slide he used to make his getaway.
Slater first calmly walked out of the Vernon C. Bain Corrections Center, briefly thanked his supporters and then made a mad dash for a mini-van waiting to take him away.
Now, the infamous JetBlue flight attendant making national headlines for his spectacular slide out of employment is getting the full support from the women in his life.
“I can understand why he snapped. I would have snapped, too,” said his mother, Diane Slater. “I also don’t think that people who are in the service industry should be abused by anybody, whether it be a passenger or family or anybody.”
Even Slater’s ex-wife, his high school sweetheart, came to his defense.
“He definitely exited in a grand fashion. He is a dramatic fellow. So I wouldn’t expect any less of him. I think he’s fabulous. I couldn’t think other than how he could do that. I just think he had enough of mistreatment,” Cynthia Suzanne added.
Slater basically said he had had it in his confession read during his first court appearance in Queens on Tuesday, saying: “I lost patience after a female passenger had an argument with another passenger and then opened the bin door hitting me on the head without apologizing. I got on the microphone and said ‘to those of you who have shown dignity and respect these last 20 years, thanks for a great ride.'”
JetBlue passenger Katie Doebler, who spoke exclusively to CBS 2, recalled a more dramatic rant before Slater deployed the emergency slide to escape.
“He said, ‘to the (expletive) who just told me to (expletive) myself, go (expletive) yourself. It’s been a great 28 years. I’m outta here.’ And with that the whole plane gasps,” Doebler said.
Slater was later arrested at the Belle Harbor, N.Y., home he shares with his boyfriend, Ken Rochelle.
Rochelle would give no explanation for his partner’s behavior.
“Everyone will know in due time. So if you do me a favor, I have a medical condition and each and every one of you is causing me to have arrhythmia and I will pass out. Please leave me alone,” Rochelle said.
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