1-year-old cut in the face by drone; police search for pilot suspects

Cassandra Roberts brought her 1-year-old son to Crow Creek Park in Bettendorf, Iowa, as a fun way to pass the time July 24.

Roberts of Davenport was visiting her mom who lives down the street from the park. The 24-year-old was sitting on the swings with her son, Atticus, when all of a sudden, she saw a drone fly over, hit the swing and strike him in the face around 11 a.m.

When she examined his face, she saw he was bleeding and had cuts on his lips. Roberts brought him to Trinity Bettendorf Hospital where doctors gave him three stitches in his cheek and two in his lips, she said.

Now, Bettendorf police are asking for the public’s help in finding the people who operated the drone.

“It makes me sad to look at him every day because as a mom, you want to protect your kids and you never want them to experience pain,” Roberts said.

After Atticus was hit, two men flying the drone at nearby soccer fields came over to Roberts and apologized for hitting her son. She was focused on bringing her son to the hospital and did not get their names, Roberts said.

The cuts are only superficial, Roberts said. She reported the incident to police the next day.

It’s illegal for people to operate drones in Bettendorf’s parks without prior permission from the city, said police Cpt. Justin Paul.

On Friday, the police department posted on its Facebook, requesting any information about the incident.

“If you’re going to operate them, you need to operate them in a safe manner away from individuals and make sure you’re in compliance with whatever local ordinances are out there,” Paul said.

Roberts hopes the person will step forward, but she said she can’t hold a grudge about the situation.

“It’s upsetting that it happened, but at the end of the day it happened and nothing can change it,” Roberts said. “Nothing can fix it.”

If anyone has information regarding the incident, contact Bettendorf officer Ashley Guffey at 563-344-4027.