PRESCOTT, Ariz. (KSAZ) - A man from Prescott Valley has been arrested for flying his drone over the Goodwin Fire, which resulted in grounding all air operations, including fire.
Gene Alan Carpenter, 54, has been charged with endangerment and unlawful operation of an unmanned aircraft.
Yavapai County Sheriff's Office says Carpenter recklessly endangered 14 aircraft and aircrews and associated ground fire crews with substantial risk of imminent death or physical injury by flying an unmanned drone aircraft in closed airspace above the Goodwin Fire.
At 7 p.m. on Wednesday June 24, a witness reported a male subject flying a drone while standing near a white van on East Poland Road, near the Mount Union Lookout tower.
US Forest Service personnel inside the Mt. Union Lookout tower also reported seeing a white van and a man flying a drone at the same time.
Based upon other witness descriptions, drone descriptions, and photos obtained from Carpenter's website showing drone views of the Goodwin Fire, deputies began searching for him.
Friday afternoon, an off-duty YCSO deputy spotted Carpenter's van on Willow Creek Road in Prescott. He coordinated the response of patrol deputies where Carpenter was arrested and his drone was seized.
He is book at the Camp Verde Detention Center and remains in-custody. Bond has not been set.
Detectives are meeting with federal officials on Monday to discuss additional charges based on federal statues regarding temporary flight restrictions (TFRs).