UK Football

University of Kentucky student not charged in drone crash, but investigation continues

A student crashed this drone inside Commonwealth Stadium during UKÕs first game of the season on Sept. 5, 2015. Photo provided by UK Public Relations
A student crashed this drone inside Commonwealth Stadium during UKÕs first game of the season on Sept. 5, 2015. Photo provided by UK Public Relations

A University of Kentucky student who flew a drone that crashed into the side of newly renovated Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday has not been charged.

UK officials said Monday that the investigation is continuing, and the case has been turned over to UK police.

UK spokeswoman Kathy Johnson said UK Police Chief Joe Monroe would not comment.

The matter could be turned over to the Federal Aviation Administration, which regulates drones, or unmanned aircraft. The FAA prohibits the flying of drones over stadiums one hour prior until one hour after most major sporting events, including NCAA football games. The crash happened just before Kentucky's season-opening game against Louisiana-Lafayette.

In addition, because of UK's proximity to two major helipads — University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital and Central Baptist Hospital — UK prohibits the use of drones on its campus. A university committee is also meeting to develop guidelines and regulations regarding the use of the popular technology that is also used in research.

The university has not released the name of the student.

The drone crashed in the southwest corner of Commonwealth Stadium near the suite level just before kickoff. There were no injuries to fans and no damage to the stadium.

UK officials recovered the drone, university spokesman Jay Blanton said.

Drones are increasing in popularity and use. It was the second time in two weeks that amateurs flying drones hit landmark buildings in Lexington. On Aug. 22, a drone hit Lexington's tallest building — the Lexington Finance Center — after an unmanned aircraft hit a cable or antenna on the 400-foot-plus building and fell on its roof. That incident, which was reported to the FAA, also is under investigation.

The FAA has one office in Louisville that regulates drones. For first-time offenses, the federal agency typically sends warning letters to amateur drone operators. But the office can fine operators for repeat violations, such as flying within five miles of an airport without notifying the airport.

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