Police: Drone hobbyist's 'hexacopter' interfered with medical helicopter at crash scene

An Ohio hobbyist denies flying a drone over a crash scene after he was told a medical helicopter was on the way.
By Frances Burns  |  April 15, 2014 at 11:48 AM
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SPRINGFIELD, Ohio, April 15 (UPI) -- Police in Ohio say a drone enthusiast refused to ground his 'hexacopter' to allow a medical helicopter to land at a crash scene.

Kele Stanley, who appeared in court Monday in Clark County, denies the charge. He said he learned after his drone had made two flights over a truck that hit a tree that a helicopter was on its way, and he did not fly the unmanned aircraft again.

“I am not an idiot,” Stanley said. “If I had known that Care Flight was on the way, my helicopter would have come down immediately. There wouldn’t have been any dispute.”

Stanley has been charged with a felony, interfering with official business, and two misdemeanors -- disorderly conduct and misbehaving at an emergency scene. He was arrested Saturday and released on $425 bail.

A copy machine repairman, Stanley also videotapes weddings and sometimes sells video footage taken by drone to TV stations. His "hexacopter," which retails at about $4,000, is a four-legged unmanned vehicle that can be flown like a helicopter.

Stanley said he was approached by a sheriff's deputy after his drone made its first flight. But he said the deputy did not say anything about an arriving helicopter, and that he knew flying the drone over the scene was legal.

In a criminal complaint, prosecutors said he was aware of the helicopter.

[Columbus Dispatch]

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