University of Kentucky Student Arrested After Crashing Drone At Football Game

8775955_GA 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.

18 thoughts on “University of Kentucky Student Arrested After Crashing Drone At Football Game”

  1. 1) He’s a law student. Let him represent himself.

    2) He’s a law student. Presumably he’s smart enough to be there, so why is he do dumb?

  2. David,

    I think this charge is probably appropriate. Just because he did not intend to endanger anyone, does not mean that he did not. He did with purpose and planning, fly the drone in a public airspace above people. Just the fact that something is in the air above you means it has the potential to come down, and as a pilot he should be aware and 100% responsible for his flight path and his craft’s actions. Even a small drone will do serious harm if fallen from a great height. I have two drones, a tiny one, and a dinner plate sized one. The small one is light enough, but if one of the pokey bits hit you in a sensitive spot I could see it as being painful. Maybe it could break your glasses if you wear them like me.

    I think airlines pay damages to homeowners who’s houses they’ve accidentally dropped stuff on? They put the plane in the air with all the gear, people, etc, on, and they are responsible for how it goes up and comes down- regardless of when it was.

    This guy’s drone. 24 pounds! That’ll kill ya. Definitely need to be aware and responsible when operating this craft…

    1. Steg, thanks for the info about this drone. I agree that 24 pounds dropped from a height can do damage. Not sure still what it would do to a parachutist if it bumped into one.

  3. The word “wanton” implies deliberate and unprovoked. I doubt he meant to endanger anybody. So that charge is trumped up. The FAA rule applies though.

    I’m wondering how big this “drone” was and whether it would have hurt anybody if it ran into them. Some drones are small enough with small cameras that running into a person would not cause injury.

  4. Sentence him to be dropped out of a plane with out a parachute. Over water so he might survive,

  5. This person should be prosecuted for more than a misdemeanor. And prosecutors should also get ready to prosecute corporations and others who view the air as nothing more than another place to make money no matter who gets hurt!

  6. BFM, You are the common sense king of this blog. We need you here more often. I’ll walk your dog or clean your house if that will free up more time. Common sense is on the endangered list.

  7. @Nick: ” will ignore it until it gets really bad and then unilaterally decree draconian rules.”

    How long before DHS gets involved and starts charging them as terrorists?

    I prefer not to be harassed by drones. But I have a premonition that it won’t be long before we have feds dressed like light infantry protecting us from college kids playing with toys.

    Course I could be wrong – but nah, probably not.

  8. At the risk of offending anyone who believes in completely unfettered individual rights, throw the f*#king book at the idiot. He could have killed people. He should do at least a year in the slammer. There he could chat up future clients. A year and $10,000 fine would send a message. The same punishment for idiots that leave their toys lying around so children can ‘accidentally’ shoot someone. Neuter them, jail them, filter them out of the society. I have more of a right to be protected from these idiots than they have, regardless how the sacred words are interpreted.

  9. The article mentions that he had done this before at sporting events. Was he caught using a drone at sporting events or did he just admit to that when speaking with authorities? This article doesn’t specify, but it would be helpful in assessing just how severely he should be punished. If he was, in fact, previously caught doing so, I’ll assume that he received some type of warning or reprimand to cease such activities and should be dealt with accordingly. It’s a miracle that no one was hurt due to his idiocy.

  10. Guys, drone problems are everywhere. Go on a nice vacation, out of the way place. To relax and $15K done crashes.

  11. Too bad they probably are not teaching Code 508.070 at UK College of Law. On a more serious note, I have a hard time understanding what this guy was trying to accomplish. Do we know if he intended to crash the thing into the suites?

  12. Yikes. This guy is a nut. I think drones are fun, like guns- they must be used responsibly. This was another stupid operator story. I say throw the book at him for this one- this is a good case where we can show irresponsible behavior punished. I say this because of the parachutists- if they were actually forced to take evasive action. That’s like a big ‘WTF was this guy thinking?’ to me.

  13. We’ve discussed this previously. This is a rapidly growing problem. If past is prologue, our stupid govt. will ignore it until it gets really bad and then unilaterally decree draconian rules.

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