Former Miss Venezuela On Trial For Airline Disturbance In Houston

Former Miss Venezuela United Airlines On Trial
Courtesy Photo

We're guessing she didn't win the Miss Congeniality prize. 

Carmen Lechin, the winner of Miss Venezuela in 1984, is on trial to determine if she will be convicted of disrupting a 2013 United Airlines red-eye flight from Houston to Bogotá, Colombia. The beauty queen, 50, has been charged with assault aboard an aircraft, a misdemeanor, and interference with a flight crew, a felony. 

According to the Houston Chronicle, Lechin intimidated, assaulted and cursed United steward Samuel Oliver during the trip. She was seated in first class with her husband, 54-year-old Houston pulmonologist Dr. Alex Lechin, and her teenage daughter. The Lechin's were in the midst of a divorce, and Ms. Lechin was on probation for a 2011 under-the-influence and domestic violence incident. 

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According to opening statements given by Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Winter, Lechin became aggravated when Oliver, the steward, declined to give her a pillow, as United no longer offers that service to passengers. She had several confrontations with her husband on-board before she received a written warning that said, "Your behavior is violating federal law." She allegedly threw the paper at Oliver. 

The flight had to be diverted back to Houston because of the disturbance. 

Lechin's lawyers argue that the flight attendant overreacted to Dr. Lechin's claims that his wife had "invaded his space." They contend that Dr. Lechin has personal reasons for causing the disturbance, as a conviction could impact the family court's division of assets and a custody determination.