Woman Arrested After Confrontation Over Drone At Beach

Video report by Jeevan Vittal, Fox CT

Text by Kelly Glista and David Owens, Hartford Courant

MADISON — A Westbrook woman faces third-degree assault and breach of peace charges after police say she attacked a 17-year-old who was flying a drone over the beach at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison.

Andrea Mears, 23, was charged May 12 after a confrontation at the beach. State Environmental Conservation Police released her on her a promise to appear in court. She is due back in Superior Court in New Haven June 19.

A video purportedly showing the assault was posted to YouTube and LiveLeak this weekend. The video, which Austin Haughwout of Clinton said he took with his phone, shows a woman pulling on the neck of his shirt and clawing at his face while swearing at him and calling him a “little pervert.”

Police said Mears called the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection emergency dispatch center on May 12 to report that someone was flying a remote-controlled aircraft with a camera on it over the beach.

A short time later, Haughwout called to report that he was being assaulted by a woman, later identified as Mears, police said. No charges were filed against Haughwout.

EnCon police and Madison police responded to the calls and after investigating charged Mears.

“Though [Haughwout] may have hit Mears at some point in the incident, it appeared to be while he was defending himself and attempting to get away from the attack,” EnCon Officer Robert Monday wrote in his report.

Haughwout said he was glad he recorded the confrontation on his phone. “If I didn’t I think I would have been arrested,” he said.

He said he was flying his radio-controlled quadcopter over the beach. Because of the altitude at which the craft was flying, any people captured on video were too small to see clearly, he said.

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