Joseph Emerson, off-duty pilot accused of trying to crash a plane, will get the mental health services he once avoided to try to keep his job

Joseph Emerson will be free before his trial on accusations he tried to crash an Alaska Airlines flight.

The former pilot — who was off-duty at the time and riding in the cockpit’s “jump seat” — told investigators and the New York Times that he couldn’t tell what was real at the time after taking magic mushrooms days earlier to help treat his suspected mental health problems.

Emerson’s wife told the Times that he had been depressed since the death of a close friend, but refused to get help because the mere act of seeking treatment could have grounded him from flying and led to the loss of his job.

Business Insider previously reported that commercial airline pilots are in crisis and avoiding mental health care, torn between getting treatment for their mental health and keeping their jobs.

But now Emerson will get the help he reportedly avoided.

Emerson pleaded not guilty to reckless endangerment charges, downgraded from the initial attempted murder charges he was hit with initially.

Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Ryan ruled that Emerson could be released before the trial after his defense lawyer and prosecutors agreed to the conditions, according to the Associated Press.

Among them, Emerson must:

After court, Emerson’s wife, Sarah Stetch, told reporters through tears that she was glad his case was raising awareness about what other airline pilots face, according to the AP.

“I’m saddened that this situation had to happen to my husband and to the people it affected,” she said. “But I know that this has created a movement and momentum to help thousands of other pilots.”

Emerson is also free on bail in his federal case, in which he faces charges of interfering with a flight crew.

The post Joseph Emerson, off-duty pilot accused of trying to crash a plane, will get the mental health services he once avoided to try to keep his job appeared first on Business Insider.

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