Monday, 25 September, 2017

Man arrested over flying his drone near Arizona wildfire

Flagstaff Hotshots emerge from Goodwin Fire with two fawns Drone Operator Suspect Arrested
Garry Little | 04 July, 2017, 01:14

Two little ones without homes were facing danger from the Goodwin Fire, until Flagstaff Hotshots were able to save them, according to the United States Forest Service in Prescott.

The Yavapai County Sheriff's Office said on Saturday that 54-year-old Gene Alan Carpenter had been arrested and charged with "endangerment and unlawful operation of an unmanned aircraft", creating "substantial risk of imminent death or physical injury" to firefighters. It should be noted the initial report of the fire in that area was called in at approximately 4 PM and aircraft began flying within about 30 minutes. Forest Service personnel manning the tower reported seeing the same thing, at the same time as the second witness - a man, hear a white van, flying a drone.

Deputies developed leads identifying Carpenter as the suspect based on prior contacts, D'Evelyn said. The Air Attack Pilot supervisor, the fourth witness, told a detective that it was his job to keep control of all the aircraft in the area of the fire and also help air tankers battling the fire. As a result of aircraft leaving the area during a fire fighting mission, ground crews were left unprotected which required them to disengage from the fire. All firefighting aircraft had to be grounded for about an hour on Wednesday, June 28.

Last Friday, an off-duty deputy spotted Carpenter's van, and police stopped him.

This was one of the photos police allegedly discovered on Carpenter's website, via the Daily Courier.

Carpenter's bond was set at $25,000 and he's expected in court July 6.

The sheriff's office also indicated that they will be meeting with federal officials on Monday to discuss additional charges against Carpenter at the federal level.

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