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Daniel Verley, NYC teacher, gets community service in drone crash at U.S. Open

Police stand guard next to a drone after

Police stand guard next to a drone after it crashed into the stands in Louis Armstrong Stadium during the the women's singles second-round match between Flavia Pennetta of Italy and Monica Niculescu of Romania at the U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, Queens on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Credit: Getty Images / Matthew Stockman

A Brooklyn teacher who crashed an unauthorized drone inside Louis Armstrong Stadium during a U.S. Open tennis match last month was sentenced Friday to 5 days of community service, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said.

In a sentencing agreement, Queens Criminal Court Judge Michelle Armstrong ruled that charges against Daniel Verley, 26, will be dismissed in six months if he completes his required community service -- and has no law violations.

Verley, of Jamaica, Queens, is a science teacher at the Academy of Innovative Technology. A source said the city Board of Education is reviewing the case.

D. Andrew Marshall, Verley's Manhattan attorney, said he and his client are satisfied with the outcome of the case. Verley will complete his community service at a school, Marshall said.

The sentence is "consistent with what it is that he is passionate about anyway, which is offering his services to high school students," Marshall said.

The drone crashed into the stands during a televised second-round match between Flavia Pennetta of Italy and Monica Niculescu of Romania, in the night session of the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadow on Sept. 3.

The stadium, next to the main Arthur Ashe Stadium, was not filled during the match, and the shoebox-sized drone, described as a four-propeller 3DR Solo drone, crashed into an unoccupied area in one corner of the venue.

Authorities said Verley told them he'd used the drone to take pictures of the iconic Unisphere, located nearby at Flushing Meadow, but that on a second flight the drone "lost its signal" and flew off -- crashing in the stadium. No one was injured.

After the match, Pennetta told The Associated Press her initial reaction was that the drone might have been a bomb, calling the entire episode "a little scary."

The agreement was reached under supervision of the district attorney's alternative sentencing program.

"Fortunately, no one was injured as a result of this incident," Brown said in a statement. "However, we cannot rely on happenstance to protect the public. I urge hobbyists and other members of the public to use common sense when choosing to employ these unmanned vehicles."

Brown said reckless operation of drones in areas where large groups of people gather "needlessly puts the lives and safety of people at risk."

With Laura Blasey

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