Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
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Sam Penrod and Jon Dunn Reporting Dell Schanze says he was doing nothing wrong when he flew his paraglider around I-15 Wednesday morning, but Draper Police say they feel differently. Working with the city attorney, Draper investigators say they are close to filing charges.
"We're specifically looking at possibly disorderly conduct, or a reckless endangerment, or reckless flying charge, or all of the above," says Sergeant Gerry Allred.
He says they feel it was a safety issue from the beginning. They have received numerous calls from concerned citizens that back that up.
"We've had a lot of calls from people saying they were alarmed and concerned about what they observed yesterday and they thought it was unsafe," says Allred.
Allred says they are being careful with the case, but they could have charges filed by the end of the week.
Because Draper is a popular place for ultralights, police plan to make sure this never happens again.
Sgt. Gerry Allred, Draper City Police Dept.: "This has nothing to do with Dell Schanze. This has to do with the pilot of that craft. If that happens to be Dell Schanze or anyone else, they would be treated exactly the same. The point is, we don't feel comfortable with aircraft of any kind without regulation, just flying over populated areas of the city. We have created, the City of Draper and Salt Lake County, an airpark specifically that allows, with probably hundreds of square miles up there, for people to recreate without bothering anyone, and without endangering anyone."
Dell Schanze is still on the defensive, telling listeners of the Doug Wright Show on KSL Newsradio that Draper has no control over the airspace. Schanze says that is only an issue with the FAA. He claims he has dealt with the FAA four times on similar issues, and they have never taken any action against him.
A comment came in late last night on the KSL comment boards from a man claiming to be Dell Schanze. There's no way to verify it's actually him, but it would not surprise us because Dell Schanze has told us he regularly comments on the KSL online boards.
While Schanze flew his powered paraglider near Point of the Mountain yesterday, there was a car accident. Super Dell says he's not to blame for the accident and the Utah Highway Patrol agrees.
On the KSL comment boards Super Dell sarcastically states: "Perhaps those signs in Vegas with millions of blinking lights should be the only ones sited for traffic accidents. Come on people use your brains. I was not even close to fast moving traffic, nor was I a danger to anyone and trying to claim I'm a hazard just because I look cool is just plain silly. Once again the satan worshipping media makes a mountain out of a mole hill."
But police say Schanze was clearly visible to drivers and witnesses say they actually saw him cross over the freeway. The FAA and Utah authorities are investigating whether he broke the law.
Dell Schanze: "Did I do anything illegal? Hey, I don't think I did. I think I was following FAA regulations. But hey, if not, charge me."
Charges or not, there's definitely a backlash from the flying community over this. Paragliders call Schanze's stunt shocking, disappointing and out of line.
Some say they feared an incident like this would happen and it would bring bad press to flyers who stress safety.