Owner identified through the drone's serial number
City could charge drone owner with misdemeanor reckless endangerment
The city of Seattle could file charges against a drone owner after the device crashed on top Seattle’s iconic Space Needle.
Seattle police continue to investigate the incident, but a source close to the investigation confirms authorities identified the owner through the drone’s serial number.
The drone crashed on top of the Space Needle on New Year’s Eve, but it was turned over to police on January 10. Police tell CNN that Space Needle management went to the Federal Aviation Administration to report the incident, but were informed they first needed to make a report with local authorities.
The FAA said the incident is under investigation.
The city attorney’s office tells CNN while the city does not have any drone ordinances, it could charge the owner with reckless endangerment.
That charge, a gross misdemeanor, carries a penalty of up to 364 days in jail and up to a $5,000 fine.
In October 2015, the city of Seattle charged a man with reckless endangerment for allegedly losing control of his drone at the city’s gay pride parade. As that drone fell, it crashed into a building and then hit a woman, knocking her unconscious. That case is currently under trial.
Video given to CNN by Space Needle management, and taken from the device, shows the drone hovering around the observation deck before it careens onto a platform near the bottom of a holiday light display. A few people were working on the platform at the time.
The building, which tops out at 605 feet with the spire, was not damaged.
“It looks like the drone tractor beam we installed on the Space Needle is working,” said Space Needle CEO Ron Sevart in a statement to CNN. “This is the third time we’ve recovered a drone on our property.”
CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan contributed to this report