The incident is said to have taken place when the Las Vegas-Boise flight prepared to take off on Tuesday night. (Some reports claim the incident took place just before landing, but Miller’s account shows this is not the case.) The unnamed boy ignored the flight crew’s request to switch off electronic devices and instead continued playing games and listening to music.
Witnesses reports claim that either the pair engaged in an argument or a scuffle then broke out (or as much of a scuffle as can take place between two people in airplane seats), during which Miller allegedly struck the boy on the arm: a police report says there was a visible mark.
Miller says he simply tapped the boy, that he could not possible have punched him (thanks to the restraints of the seatbelt), and that he doesn’t believe it is possible he caused the mark.
Although the teen then, in Miller’s words, “went ballistic”, hostilities appear to have ceased quickly as the pair remained seated next to each other during the rest of the flight.
The airline pilot then radioed air traffic control to report the incident to law enforcement authorities. Miller was arrested on the plane by Boise police when the flight landed; Idaho law says that once you commit an offense on an airplane, you can be prosecuted in any Idaho county that the plane later flies over or lands in, even in the offense itself takes place in another state.
Miller has been released on bond. Reuters notes that if charged and convicted of simple battery, the maximum sentence would be six months imprisonment or a $1,000 fine.
The boy did not require medical attention and did not face any police action.