A University of Kentucky law student, Peyton Wilson, 24, has been charged with wanton endangerment after allegedly flying a drone at Commonwealth Stadium just before the season opener game against Louisiana-Lafayette. It is the latest such case of drones harassing or endangering people on beaches, streets, or stadiums.
Wilson is accused of crashing the drone, which was equipped with a high-powered camera, into one of the glass-walled suites in the stadium. Officials say that the drone entered around the time that military parachutists were delivering the game ball and American flags to the stadium in the pregame festivities, potentially endangering the parachutists. One parachutist had to take evasive action when he drone few within 20 feet according to a witness.
The parachutists add an element to this case in terms of endangerment. Here is the code:
508.070 Wanton endangerment in the second degree.
(1) A person is guilty of wanton endangerment in the second degree when he wantonly engages in conduct which creates a substantial danger of physical injury to another person.
(2) Wanton endangerment in the second degree is a Class A misdemeanor.
Prosecutors could have argued that the drone endangered others, given the fact that it was not controlled and crashed. However, the parachutists offer a strong case for prosecution. This is only a misdemeanor but the court could want to send a message. He could receive up to a year in jail, though such sentences are rare for first offenders. Police say that Wilson had done this before a sporting events.
The FAA prohibits operating unmanned aircraft within an altitude of 3,000 feet of any stadium having a seating capacity of 30,000 or more one hour before and after an event.