updated 12/7/2004 11:17:36 AM ET 2004-12-07T16:17:36

A stowaway who shipped himself in an airline cargo crate from New York to Dallas was sentenced Monday to eight months in prison for violating his probation.

During a hearing, Charles D. McKinley, 26, acknowledged he recently fled Texas without permission.

“He said he was tired of everybody asking him about the incident, and he just decided to get out of town,” assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Schattman said. “He said he made a mistake and was sorry.”

After flying across the country in a wooden cargo crate to save money, McKinley pleaded guilty in November 2003 to stowing away on a cargo jet, a misdemeanor. In February, he was sentenced to a year of probation, including some house arrest.

Schattman said McKinley initially met the requirements: He wore his ankle monitor for six months, lived with his parents, got a job and met with his probation officer.

But when McKinley didn’t show up for his September meeting, the probation officer discovered he hadn’t been to work and that his parents did not know where he was, Schattman said.

McKinley was arrested by Butts County, Ga., sheriff’s deputies in October, accused of driving away without paying for gas. After deputies discovered the Texas warrant, they turned him over to federal authorities.

In September 2003, McKinley, a former shipping clerk at a New York warehouse, popped out of the box at his parents’ home in DeSoto, a Dallas suburb, after journeying about 1,500 miles by truck, plane and delivery van. The shaken delivery company employee left the house and called police.

McKinley has said he made the 15-hour trip because he was homesick and a friend thought he could save money by flying cargo. The $550 freight charges were billed to his employer.

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