Miami-Dade County

Man who ran across airport runway told cops he can’t read and didn’t know not to be there

Gregory Burnes
Gregory Burnes Miami-Dade Police

He told police he couldn’t read and didn’t know he wasn’t supposed to be on the runway at Miami International Airport, according to an arrest report.

But police say Gregory Burnes, 41, ignored warnings from two different witnesses and made his way onto Runway 9 anyway.

On Tuesday, a day after Burnes was caught running on the runway, police said he was charged with illegally being in a restricted area. He was being held in jail on a $1,500 bond.

According to Burnes’ police report, someone spotted Burnes hopping the fence onto the runway. Another person saw him “walking on the service road on the secure area of the runway and told him not to walk on the runway, but the defendant ignored him and began to run south across the taxi way and runway.”

He was soon taken into custody by arriving officers.

“While walking the defendant to my vehicle, he spontaneously said he did not know how to read and did not know he could not cross the runway,” an officer wrote.

This is the second time in four months that someone has broken through a restricted area at MIA.

In September, Jason Brad Pearce, a 34-year-old man from Kentucky drove his truck through a locked gate onto the airport grounds, then scaled another fence before he was confronted by police in an electrical closet. When Pearce dared police to shoot him and swung from an overhead pipe — police shot him. He was injured.