A city high school teacher was arrested Thursday night at the U.S. Open after flying a drone over a tennis match and crashing it into empty seats in the stands, according to authorities.
Daniel Verley, 26, reportedly from Jamaica, faces three charges after the incident, including reckless endangerment, reckless operation of a drone and operating a drone in a city public park outside of a prescribed area, police said.
Verley reportedly works as a teacher at the Academy of Innovative Technology in Brooklyn.
According to published reports, the drone flew over the court at the Louis Armstrong Stadium on Thursday night before crashing into the seats at 8:28 p.m., startling both spectators and tennis players Monica Niculescu of Romania and Flavia Pennetta of Italy.
The black drone reportedly had four propellers and partially shattered on impact. No injuries were reported.
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said in a statement that this incident illustrates that drones cannot be considered children’s toys.
“Many people operating unmanned aircraft are novices with little or no aviation experience and recklessly flying a drone near, over or into a tennis stadium or an airport or any other place where large groups of people assemble needlessly puts lives in danger,” Brown said.
The Courier reached out to Verley by phone for comment, but did not receive a response.