Investigations into a 29-year old man from Jacksonville’s Sandalwood neighborhood are ongoing after it is alleged his attempts to secretly film a female neighbor sun tanning topless in her yard using a drone ended with the ‘device crashing into her face and causing her nose to be completely severed’.
According to reports by local media, William Jacob Cerda, originally from Tampa, purchased the drone earlier this year and was seen using it by several residents on his street. “I saw it hovering over my pool on one occasion,” said one of Mr Cerda’s neighbors, who was not involved in the nose-slicing incident. “I told him if I saw it over my property again I would shoot it out of the [expletive] sky.”
Seemingly undeterred by this threat, Mr Cerda is believed to have continued using the drone, primarily to spy on his female neighbors at their homes. On the afternoon of September 24, it is alleged that Mr Cerda piloted the drone to a property several houses down his street, where a 26-year old woman, who has not been named, was sun tanning topless in her yard.
The woman’s partner, who witnessed the incident, spoke to local reporters about what happened. “I’d gone inside to get another beer and was just coming back out into the yard when I saw a drone hovering over my girlfriend.” Understandably, the man was furious that someone was spying on his partner, and he explained how he hurled the beer can at the drone in a fit of rage. “I managed to knock it out of the sky,” he said, adding: “unfortunately, it crashed right into my girl’s face.”
The woman received extensive lacerations to her face and upper body from the drone’s propellers, but the worst injury was to her nose, which was completely sliced off. “She was screaming and there was blood going everywhere,” said her partner, who rushed her to a local hospital, along with her severed nose in a bucket of ice. Surgeons who operated on the woman were able to reattach her nose, but extensive plastic surgery will be required at a later date to deal with the inevitable scarring.
Mr Cerda is currently under investigation over his role in the incident, but so far through his lawyers he has declined to offer any comment on the matter other than to deny involvement. “My client maintains he was merely flying his drone through the neighborhood, and it is a coincidence that it was seen at the property where the incident occurred,” said his lawyer, reading from a prepared statement. “We will argue that the actions of the victim’s partner in purposefully bringing down the drone mean all responsibility [for the injuries] lies with him, rather than my client.”
However, the discovery of a number of videos allegedly recorded and uploaded to the internet by Mr Cerda may harm his defence. In a YouTube channel believed to be owned by Mr Cerda, which has since been deactivated, drone footage recorded of properties in the Sandalwood neighborhood, that focus on females sun tanning or swimming, was discovered. Pressed for an explanation on this, Mr Cerda’s lawyer declined to comment.