Thursday, 23 November, 2017

Drone Operator Near Wildfire Facing 14 Felony Counts

Flagstaff Hotshots emerge from Goodwin Fire with two fawns Drone Operator Suspect Arrested
Connie Andrews | 05 July, 2017, 01:23

Authorities contend that Carpenter controlled the droneby encircling one of the official firefighting planes battling the wildfire.

Stay with KGUN9 and KGUN9.com for more information on the Goodwin Fire. Those aircraft, including three very large DC-10s, were protecting the ground crews.

The fire area had been designated a no-fly zone for non-firefighting aircraft, Yavapai County Sheriff's Office spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said.

Firefighters have made great progress on containing the Goodwin Fire near Prescott over the last few days. 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. The man was near a white van, standing near the U.S. Forest Service's Mount Union Lookout tower. Partially from prior contacts with Carpenter, officers established leads which led to identifying him.

Carpenter had been posting pictures he'd taken with the drone on his website.

Gene Alan Carpenter, 54, has been arrested for recklessly endangering 14 air tankers and helicopters and many firefighters on the ground. The intrusion necessitated clearing the airspace immediately since it posed danger to aircraft. All firefighting aircraft had to be grounded for about an hour on Wednesday, June 28. Yesterday afternoon, an off-duty YCSO deputy spotted Carpenter's van on Willow Creek Road in Prescott. Carpenter was stopped after the deputy coordinated patrol deputies' response. Police said the drone was discovered in his van and seized.

Detectives are meeting with federal officials on Monday to discuss additional charges based on federal statutes regarding temporary flight restrictions.

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