The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia will not pursue criminal charges against the man who lost control of a drone that landed on the grounds of the White House on Jan. 26.
The decision was made following an investigation by the U.S. Secret Service and a review of applicable law. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has begun a review of the incident for possible administrative action.
The investigation determined that the man had borrowed the DJI quadcopter from a friend. According to an interview with the man, he flew it around his apartment in downtown D.C. and outside his window late Jan. 25 and early Jan. 26. Around 3:00 a.m., the drone was outside over 10th St. when he saw the aircraft ascend to an altitude of about 100 feet and head in a westerly direction.
He tried to regain control over it but to no avail. He called his friend, who was unable to advise him how to gain control over the drone.
The man knew that the drone’s battery was nearing the end of its charge and expected that it would crash somewhere over the mall. He went to sleep not knowing where the drone had gone.
After he awoke to news reports of the crash on the White House grounds, he self-reported the incident to the Secret Service. A forensic analysis of the drone determined that it was not operating under the direction of its controller when it crashed at the White House.