NYC teacher sentenced to community service for US Open drone crash

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The New York City public school teacher arrested for crashing his drone into a stadium during the U.S. Open has been sentenced to five days of community service, according to the Queens district attorney.

Daniel Verley — a 26-year-old science teacher at the Academy of Innovative Technology in Brooklyn — was arrested on Sept. 3 after his unmanned model aircraft crashed into an empty seating area at the Louis Armstrong Stadium during a tennis match.

Authorities say that Verley, a Jamaica resident who is also a professional photographer, went to Flushing Meadow Corona Park that night at approximately 7:45 p.m. to take pictures of the iconic Unisphere with his new robotic drone.

During his second attempt to fly the aircraft, the drone lost its signal and flew away from the Unisphere, crashing into the famed tennis stadium during a U.S. Open match between Flavia Pennetta and Monica Niculescu.

No one was injured as a result of the incident.

District Attorney Richard A. Brown said the investigations of the incident revealed that Verley had never intended to allow the drone to fly into the stadium.

“I urge hobbyists and other members of the public to use common sense when choosing to employ these unmanned vehicles — obtain the necessary permissions and only use these vehicles in areas deemed safe as the reckless use of unmanned model aircraft near locations where large groups of people assemble needlessly puts the lives and safety of people at risk,” Brown said.

Verley has no prior criminal record and the charges against him will be dismissed six months after the completion of his community service.

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