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NY man arrested for allegedly flying drone over U.S. Open venue

By Morgan Winsor, CNN
updated 6:22 PM EDT, Thu September 4, 2014
  • Daniel Feighery, 36, is arrested for flying a drone over the U.S. Open
  • Feighery was picked up 50 yards outside U.S. Open grounds
  • Police also seized his drone
  • The fly-by is the latest in a string of recent drone incidents

New York (CNN) -- New York City police arrested a man for allegedly flying a drone inside the U.S. Open venue Wednesday night.

Serena Williams and Flavia Pennetta were battling for a spot in the semi-finals on another court when police spotted the drone around 9 p.m. Wednesday near courts 16 and 17, which were empty at the time, according to New York City Police detective Martin Speechley.

By the time Williams beat her opponent in straight sets that night, the alleged drone-flying intruder was already in police custody.

Police said the drone was piloted by Daniel Feighery of Yonkers, New York, who was arrested 50 yards outside U.S. Open grounds.

Feighery, 36, was charged with reckless endangerment, violation of a local law, and failure to comply with a sign. It's not known what the sign said.

Police also took custody of the drone, Speechley said.

Feighery could not be reached for comment.

The U.S. Open fly-by is the latest in a string of recent incidents involving drones.

Last month, a tourist crashed a drone into the Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest hot spring at Yellowstone National Park, prompting an investigation.

The tourist approached a park employee about getting the drone back after losing it in the almost 200-feet deep hot spring. The employee let the tourist go without initially reporting the incident to authorities.

Drones are banned in national parks. The National Park Service announced in June that it was prohibiting unmanned aircraft from all park service-controlled lands and waters, totaling about 84 million acres throughout the country.

Visitors watching the sunset over the Grand Canyon were interrupted by a loud drone in April. And volunteers reported that a herd of bighorn sheep at Zion National Park in Utah scattered after being harassed by a drone.

Also, a Seattle woman called police in June to report a "peeping Tom" drone. The drone was hovering outside of her high-rise window, and the woman saw operators on the ground below with camera equipment.

The Federal Aviation Administration predicts some 10,000 civilian drones will be in use in the United States within five years, including those for law enforcement and commercial means.

In August, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer called on the FAA and the Commerce Department to establish drone regulations by the end of the year.

"New York City has become the wild, wild west for commercial and hobby drones," Schumer said.

Although 35 states have considered drone legislation, only five have passed laws to regulate drones.

Schumer told CNN that a national law for the skies is key.

Drones "serve many useful purposes," he said. "Smart regulation can save the baby and throw out the bathwater."

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