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Schanze charged in paragliding incident

Published: Thursday, July 30 2015 8:48 a.m. MDT

Dell Schanze () Dell Schanze ()
"Super" Dell Schanze once again faces criminal charges. And once again Schanze isn't shy about expressing his displeasure with the charges or his accusers.
"Are they trying to say I broke the law or they hate me?" Schanze asked rhetorically Thursday afternoon. "I can't imagine the sheer ignorance of such (charges)."
The former owner of Totally Awesome Computers was charged with creating a public nuisance, a class B misdemeanor, and disorderly conduct, an infraction. He is accused of flying his powered paraglider over and around I-15 during morning rush hour on May 24 and flying low through congested areas along the sides of I-15.
Draper police Sgt. Gerry Allred said detectives gathered numerous statements from witnesses who said they were "alarmed" and "afraid there might be a crash" after observing the low-flying, yellow-winged paraglider with a giant "S" on it.
Allred said Draper police met with the Utah Highway Patrol and FAA officials for a week before deciding what charges to file. The FAA is also considering its own charges, Allred said.
"I want to make it clear this has nothing to do with Dell Schanze. This is about keeping the community safe," Allred said.
Schanze adamantly disagreed.
"All they're saying is, 'We hate Dell Schanze,' " he said. "How is it a public nuisance attracting attention? I think people with a half a brain cell know you can't charge that. Is there any logic to it? No."
Schanze questioned how flying his paraglider near I-15 was different from a "person riding a horse with a pink shirt and lights" next to I-15 or police cars with their red and blue lights on that have pulled over other vehicles.
"I'll accept the charge if they charge every one of their officers and charge everyone walking down the sidewalk," he said.
Schanze, never one to hold back his words, called the Draper Police Department on Thursday "ignorant, incompetent," "a disgrace to the nation" and "a bunch of monkeys that don't even use their heads."
Schanze was at Draper City Hall late Thursday afternoon to receive his summons papers. When members of the media tried to get an interview with police regarding the charges, they were led into another room. Police said they did not invite Schanze in order to conduct the interviews without interruption.
"They wanted to run and hide inside the building," Schanze said. "It's a shame to have police officers like that. It's a mockery of the American justice system."
"It was the citizens who alerted us to the low-flying paraglider and said they were concerned," Allred said. "We would have treated any low-flying aircraft the same way."
Schanze's court date was scheduled for June 13.
Allred said the incident has city officials considering an ordinance to specifically address the issue of paragliding and hang-gliding in the community.


E-mail: preavy@desnews.com

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