CHARLOTTE — Authorities arrested a man they accuse of purposely flying a drone near a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police helicopter as it tracked a wanted suspect early Thursday.
The helicopter pilot had to “immediately and abruptly” alter the helicopter’s flight path to avoid a mid-air collision with the drone, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said in a news release.
At approximately 12:40 a.m., officers were using the helicopter to help search for a suspect who was running from police. The pilot was notified by officers on the ground that a man had launched a drone in the area at about the same altitude and flight path as the helicopter.
Christopher Baucom, 26, initially refused officers’ orders to land the drone, the release states. After speaking further with officers, he eventually landed it.
The drone was of such a size that it is required to be registered with the FAA, and flying drones at night is prohibited.
Police said Baucom refused to provide officers with a drone registration or personal identification, and told officers that he did not need to comply with their requests to do so.
Officers charged him with interference with manned aircraft by unmanned aircraft system (felony) and resist (misdemeanor), the release states.
Baucom had been listening to a scanner and told officers that he drove to the scene to take video footage of the helicopter as it worked the call, the release states.