72° Good Morning
72° Good Morning

NYC teacher Daniel Verley arrested after drone crashes into empty seats at U.S. Open, police say

Police stand guard next to a drone after

Police stand guard next to a drone after it crashed into the stands in Louis Armstrong Stadium during the the women's singles second-round match between Flavia Pennetta of Italy and Monica Niculescu of Romania at the U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, Queens on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Matthew Stockman

A New York City teacher was arrested Thursday night after police said he crashed a drone into an empty section of stadium seats during a match at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in Flushing Meadow.

The U.S. Tennis Association and police said no one was injured.

Daniel Verley, 26, of Jamaica, Queens, was arrested and charged with reckless operation of a drone and with operating a drone in a New York City park outside of a prescribed area, the NYPD said. Police said Verley surrendered at the scene and was formally arrested at about 1 a.m. Friday.

The incident occurred at about 8:45 p.m. Thursday on the Louis Armstrong Stadium Court during a second-round match between 26th-ranked Flavia Pennetta of Italy and Monica Niculescu of Romania.

Pennetta was leading, 6-1, 5-3 at the time and went on to win, 6-1, 6-4.

Video of the match showed the players suddenly startled by something in the stands. Cameras then panned to a vacant section of stands to show the small black drone that had crashed on stairs in an empty section of the stadium -- with emergency personnel and security examining the scene.

The drone appeared to be about the size of a shoe box.

The Louis Armstrong Stadium seats about 10,000 and is adjacent to Arthur Ashe Stadium, which is the main stadium court at the Open. Armstrong Stadium was partially filled for the second-round women's singles match.

It was not immediately clear if Verley had launched the drone from the grounds at Flushing Meadow or if the drone flight originated from outside the site -- either on the street or at the adjacent park.

It also was not clear if Verley was represented by an attorney.

Arraignment details were not immediately available.


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

News photos & videos