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Sun, March 24

County attorney dismisses charges against Goodwin Fire drone pilot
Case will return to sheriff’s office based on new evidence

Gene Alan Carpenter

Gene Alan Carpenter

The Yavapai County attorney has dismissed the charges against Gene Carpenter, the man arrested for operating his drone in the restricted airspace over the Goodwin Fire in June.

Carpenter, 54, of Prescott Valley was accused of hampering firefighting efforts and recklessly endangering aircraft and fire crews in the air and on the ground by flying the unmanned drone.

Carpenter also faced one count each of possession or use of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Each is a class 6 felony.

County sheriff’s deputies tracked down Carpenter on June 30 after spotting a man flying the drone within hours of the fire being reported in the Prescott National Forest.

The motion to dismiss the charges came before the case was moved from the Mayer Justice Court to the county’s Superior Court.

It said the county attorney wanted to return the case to the sheriff’s office for “further investigation based on newly discovered evidence,” and asked that the case be dismissed without prejudice, so it could be refiled at a later time.

Deputy Yavapai County Attorney Dennis McGrane said he could not comment on what new evidence had been found.

Carpenter was already out of custody on a $25,000 bond.


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