‘It’s safe’: County leaders reassure safety at RSW after woman drives onto runway

Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
RSW (Credit: WINK News)

A Southwest Florida woman faces multiple charges after crashing her car through a secured gate at RSW on Saturday. County leaders say the airport is safe.

Police say Alejandra Campuzano crashed through the gate, drove across an active runway, and endangered the lives of hundreds of people on incoming aircraft.

MORE: Woman arrested after crashing through gate, driving onto runway at RSW

There is no visible sign that anyone at the airport or with the county is taking action to make sure no one ever drives through a gate again.

Gate 76 is the one Port Authority police say the woman drove through. The gate is near the runway where planes land and take off at Southwest Florida International Airport.

You could call the airport the Lee County Commissioners pride and joy. Millions of people pass through it every month, so keeping them safe is critical, but Saturday’s incident was a severe security breach.

“The bad guys only have to get it right once. We have to get it right every single time,” said Lee County Commissioner Brian Hamman.

“It’s safe. Stuff like this happens,” said Lee County Commissioner Cecil Pendergrass.

Pendergrass and Hamman are not only are Lee County Commissioners, they also serve on the board that runs the airport.

On Saturday, 42-year-old Alejandra Campuzano crashed her car through Gate 76 and made it across the runway, all the way to where Spirit Airlines parks its planes.

“She obviously took the chance to drive through the fence and damage her vehicle. Hopefully, they get her treatment,” said Pendergrass.

Lee County Port Authority released a statement on the safety at the airport that reads:

We cannot disclose the multi-levels of security at Southwest Florida International Airport, which are in place throughout the entire airport to mitigate risk to employees, passengers and aircraft. 

The systems to alert a breach onto airport property worked and the individual was apprehended quickly. 

Any information about current security or changes to future security at the airport fall under Sensitive Security Information and, as such, cannot be released to anyone who is not authorized by federal regulation.

Commissioner Pendergrass said he is not worried about another breach like this. “When she gained entrance to the grounds. The control tower saw her and alerted all the flights at the time and they basically stopped where they were at,” said Pendergrass.

There are still unanswered questions like how could a car break onto the airfield? How did she travel so far before being stopped? Is this a vulnerability in the security here on the perimeter of the airport?

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