NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York City public school teacher was arrested early on Friday on reckless endangerment and other charges after a drone he was operating crashed into the stands in a stadium where a U.S. Open tennis match was underway, police said.
There were no spectators seated in the area at Louis Armstrong Stadium where the small drone crashed on Thursday night, and no one was hurt, police said.
Daniel Verley, 26, was charged with reckless endangerment, reckless operation of a drone and operating a drone in a New York City public park outside of a prescribed area for doing so, according to police reports.
Verley is a science teacher at the Academy of Innovative Technology in Brooklyn, where he has worked since 2013. A New York City Department of Education spokesman said the department will monitor the criminal case and take disciplinary action based on the outcome.
The incident comes as U.S. government agencies and state and local police forces seek to better identify and regulate unauthorized drone flights due to mounting security concerns prompted by the unmanned aircraft.
In video of the tennis match, the drone can be heard buzzing overhead and then loudly hitting a chair in the sparsely populated stadium, causing the two players, Italy’s Flavia Pennetta and Romania’s Monica Niculescu, to look over at the end of their point.
The match was briefly paused while police and tournament officials investigated the noise caused by the drone crashing. Pennetta later won the match.
Louis Armstrong Stadium, which seats up to 10,000 spectators, is the secondary venue for U.S. Open tennis matches at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in the Queens borough of New York City.
An attorney for Verley could not immediately be identified.
Reporting by Katie Reilly; Editing by Will Dunham