Date registered: Aug 2002
Vehicle: 2021 SL770
Location: Fountain Hills, AZ
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Quoted: 544 Post(s)
NWA Pilot Caught with Cocaine
Walter L. Dinalko, who is accused of possessing drugs and fleeing police in Michigan, is on "non-flying" status at NWA.
Northwest Airlines pilot Walter L. Dinalko was gregarious and generous with neighbors in his new condo development in St. Paul.
He bought rugs for the building with his own money, got a mailbox tag made for a neighbor and freely shared design tips, said James Sipprell.
This week a surprised Sipprell learned that his neighbor of two years had been arrested in Michigan late Saturday, accused of fleeing police while possessing cocaine.
"It's kind of a shock. The thing about Walt, he's a really classy guy," Sipprell said.
Dinalko, a former Navy pilot, co-owned the Buffalo Sober Group house in St. Paul's Summit-University neighborhood in 2000. It was home to about 25 recovering alcoholics. Neighbors complained that too many people lived there and that the owners were skirting zoning provisions. It was shut down.
Dinalko spoke about his own sobriety but never in detail, Sipprell said.
Authorities said that after piloting a flight into Detroit, Dinalko, 50, drove a rented Hummer to the Michigan-Canadian border about 10:30 p.m. Saturday. But instead of heading to the toll booths, he drove in circles and turned around.
"He spun around and exited back onto [Interstate Hwy. 94], but he was going the wrong way," said St. Clair County sheriff's Lt. Tim Donnellon.
Dinalko drove west in the eastbound lane. Two squad cars eventually blocked his path. He turned around. Other squads deployed spiked stop sticks that flattened his vehicle's tires, Donnellon said.
Dinalko was arrested without incident, but he resisted authorities when he was taken to a hospital where blood was drawn for toxicology tests.
"He was agitated and not very cooperative," Donnellon said, adding that the test results were not available yet.
A "user's amount" of cocaine was found on Dinalko and on the floor of his vehicle, he said.
Sipprell said there was never an indication that Dinalko was using drugs. Sipprell said Dinalko gave him tips about paint for his condo and hardwood floor maintenance and was key in helping him overcome his fear of flying.
"He really helped me through it by telling me how planes work," Sipprell said. "It comforted me a lot. I hope the best for him."
Dinalko is charged with possession of a controlled substance, fleeing a police officer, assault/resisting/obstructing a police officer and operating with the presence of a controlled substance. He is out on bail and could not be reached for comment.
NWA officials said they are investigating the incident and that Dinalko is on "non-flying" status. Pilots are subject to regular and random alcohol and drug screening, the airline said.
"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon