Mother Of Runaway Proud Of Son's Moxie - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

01/24/07 -

Mother Of Runaway Proud Of Son's Moxie

The mother of a 9-year-old boy who boarded flights from Seattle to Texas and is suspected of leading police on a high-speed chase said in a television interview that she was stunned but proud of her son's actions.

"He just showed me that, 'Mom, I'm going to achieve anything I want to do. I'm going to just do it.' So he did it, from driving a car to getting on an airplane," said Sakinah Booker on the syndicated TV show "Inside Edition," which was to air Wednesday.

In the interview, her son, Semaj, describes using a man's name he overheard on a loudspeaker page at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to get a boarding pass from Southwest Airlines, according to a press release issued by the program.

Southwest Airlines spokeswoman Beth Harbin said she had not heard about Semaj obtaining a passenger's name that way.

"We are talking to every possible person we can to make sure we understand what happened," Harbin said.

Booker's lawyer, Brett Purtzer, said the mother was considering a lawsuit against Southwest Airlines.

The boy is said to have tried to run away to Dallas because he disliked Washington and wanted to be with his grandfather.

Semaj has been charged with stealing a car from his neighbor and leading police on a high-speed chase that preceded his effort to get to Texas.

On Jan. 15, the 4-foot-9-inch fourth grader managed to talk his way onto two flights, from Seattle to Phoenix and then to San Antonio.

Southwest Airlines said Semaj presented himself as a 12-year-old, and therefore would not have been listed as an unaccompanied minor. He requested a boarding pass, saying his mother was already in the boarding area.

Because he is under 18, Semaj did not have to show identification to get through airport security.

The boy was finally stopped by Southwest Airlines employees in San Antonio because, officials said, he did not have information that matched a reservation.

Story courtesy of the Associated Press.

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