Woman drives on Phoenix runway with child in car

US Airways planes sit on the ground at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in this Jan. 30, 2007 file photo. AP Photo

PHOENIX A woman was arrested after she drove her car on a runway at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, police said Friday.

The woman had a small child in her vehicle when she rammed the airport gate around 10 p.m. Thursday and started crossing the runway, police spokesman Sgt. Trent Crump said. Officers forced the car to stop after a few minutes and detained the driver.

The incident was the latest involving vehicles crashing through the airport's gates or fences and getting onto its runways. Sky Harbor spent $10 million to upgrade its perimeter security and access gates after a man being chased by police in 2005 crashed a stolen pickup through a gate and drove onto the runways, passing several jets on a taxiway. In 2003, two teens in a stolen car crashed through a perimeter fence and drove onto the airfield. Both incidents caused brief closure of aircraft operations.

The driver and the child in Thursday's mishap were not injured, Crump said. The woman was showing signs of impairment, police told the Arizona Republic.

Sky Harbor spokeswoman Deborah Ostreicher said an airport operations worker was testing the gate and was closing it when the small sedan crashed through. The worker "instantly" notified police and the control tower, which ordered a halt to air traffic operations.

As the car made it onto a runway Phoenix police officers used their vehicles to spin the car around and stop it.

Ostreicher said no aircraft were nearby at the time and no passengers were in immediate danger. Airport operations were stopped for about 15 minutes, but flights were not delayed or in any danger, the Arizona Republic reported.

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