Authorities arrested New York City teacher Daniel Verley, 26, after he allegedly crashed a drone into an empty section of Louis Armstrong Stadium during the U.S. Open.
No one was injured, but the incident did delay a tennis match. Now Verley faces charges of “reckless endangerment and operating a drone in a public park outside of a prescribed area.”
Flavia Pennetta, the 26th seed, played Monica Niculescu when the drone flew into the stadium and crashed in their “next-to-last game.” The umpire and officials did not inform the players about the device, even when they stopped play to investigate.
“A little bit scary, I have to say,” Pennetta said when asked how she felt. “With everything going on in the world…. I thought, ‘OK, it’s over.’ That’s how things happen.”
The tournament pushed Pennetta and Niculescu from Court 17 to Louis Armstrong Stadium. The stadium holds 10,000 people, but it was nearly empty during the match. Pannetta’s coach and physical therapist were in the stadium as well.
“If there had been spectators, it would have hit them and done a lot of damage,” continued Pannetta. “All of these (security measures), and then it comes in from above.”
Ironically, a drone crashed at the U.S. Open last year during a Pennetta match. Officials arrested Daniel Feighry, 34, after he flew a drone outside of the grounds while Pennetta played against eventual champion Serena Williams in the quarterfinals.