balloon prank results in $1,000 fine for Smithfield
By Molly Farmer
April 1, 2006 | James B. Clark, 22, of Smithfield,
pleaded guilty Tuesday in 1st District Court to a class-A
misdemeanor of obstruction of justice, lying to law
enforcement officials about dropping water balloons
out of a flying aircraft in 2005. Judge Thomas Willmore
reduced the charge to a class B misdemeanor.
Clark, whose charges originally included two counts
of reckless endangerment, one count obstruction of justice,
and one count of navigating an unlicensed aircraft,
was sentenced to pay a $1,000 fine by May 1.
Clark said he and his passenger thought it would be
funny to drop water balloons on some of their friends
from the aircraft, but when they began flying, they
realized it wasn't safe. They instead decided to drop
the balloons on a vacant lot, far from any people on
the ground, Clark said. After landing, Clark lied to
law enforcement about his whereabouts and actions, but
later filed a confession of his participation in the
Clark, who has no criminal history, said he has surrendered
his pilot's license to the FAA, and there is no guarantee
he'll get ever get it back.