Ohio drone user charged for obstructing an accident scene

From the Associated Press:

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (AP) — A man is facing charges after deputies say he was flying a video camera-equipped drone that hindered the landing of a medical helicopter at an accident scene.

Kele Stanley, of Springfield, said he’s been unfairly charged and would have landed it immediately if he knew the medical helicopter was en route.

“I’m not an idiot,” he said.

The hobbyist was flying the $4,000 drone over a crash scene on Saturday morning to shoot photos and video.

Authorities said both fire officials and a Clark County sheriff’s deputy told Stanley to stop flying his remote-controlled aircraft because the helicopter was preparing to land, and that he refused. The helicopter was able to land and depart safely from the scene.

Stanley is facing a felony charge of obstructing official business and misdemeanor charges of misconduct at an emergency and disorderly conduct. He pleaded not guilty during a court appearance Monday and said he’s going to hire a lawyer to fight the charges.

Stanley, a 31-year-old copy-machine repairman and videographer, said he flew his remote-controlled “hexacopter” about 75 feet above where a pickup had hit a tree in Moorefield Township near Springfield. He said he was shooting the video as a hobby and would have turned it over to local television stations, as he has done before.

There currently are no regulations in Ohio governing private use of the unmanned aircraft, although law enforcement agencies must get special permits to use them. The Federal Aviation Administration bars the commercial use of drones.

(Photo above: Clark County Jail)

((Photo below:/Clark County Sheriff's Office)

Views: 3209

Comment by Brent on April 15, 2014 at 12:25pm

Why would somebody think that was a good idea? Maybe he is a member and will give his side to the story.

Comment by Austin Suhler on April 15, 2014 at 12:27pm

Because he did, and that's all it takes. *Sits back and grabs some popcorn* now THIS could be good to keep an eye on. Now we wait for the FAA to attempt to make a fool of themselves ;)

Comment by Gary Evans on April 15, 2014 at 1:00pm

He beat them to it.

Comment by Gary Mortimer on April 15, 2014 at 1:07pm

@Austin I don't think the FAA is charging him (yet)

Comment by Austin Suhler on April 15, 2014 at 1:21pm

@Gary I know, but it's just such a tempting target for them. I could see them trying to wiggle their way into it somehow :)

Comment by Oliver on April 15, 2014 at 1:42pm

I like the headline ..."drone user"... not pilot, operator, hobbyist, etc. but "user."  You know, like "meth user" or such...

But this is a great example of how existing laws are almost always all that's needed. No FAA involved. Whoever the IC was at this incident had all the authority they needed to both remove the hazard by whatever means available and to arrest the perp. No problem at all. (Comment based on 36 years of experience in fire/rescue, rank up to Chief.)

Comment by Toby Mills on April 15, 2014 at 1:45pm

Further proof that we don't really need any specific drone laws, there are plenty of laws that someone can be charged under currently if they do something stupid.

Comment by Quadrocopter on April 15, 2014 at 2:13pm

Australia will have 140 operators by the end of this month,

I also hear that the new "drone law" is coming out for copters weighing under 2KG.

Apparently all you need to do is a online test :-)
For Australia only, but it's a start.....


Comment by Ted Van Slyck on April 15, 2014 at 2:26pm

Well, if they charged Trappy with 91.13, Careless and Reckless, they could just as easily pin this guy with 91.119, operation over a congested area below 1,000'. 

Which brings up a point: AC 91-57 clearly states it is recommended to fly below 400'. Yet the FAA claims when Trappy operated his Zeypher he was subject to part 91. If you are subject to Part 91 then you are subjected to more than just the careless and reckless part, but altitude requirements, dropping objects, transponder requirements, etc. So the FAA claims that every time you operate a model airplane you are subject to part 91, yet their very own Advisory Circular outlines illegal practices. 

This guy will get off the hook because the rules obviously contradict themselves are and not applicable to model aircraft. 

Comment by Austin Laws on April 15, 2014 at 2:30pm
Firstly wot a total idiot,secondly he should of listened to what he was being told but mostly what annoys me the most is why would you film a car accident or the aftermath. It's sick and disgusting someone enjoys filming people who have possibly be injured. He deserves what Ever fine he gets,hope it's large!


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