Iowa Baby Struck in Face by Runaway Drone in Public Park

The child's mother has no hard feelings against the drone operator, she said.

Little Atticus Roberts was in a baby swing, being pushed by his mother at the park on a hot summer morning,  when a drone fell out of the sky and hit him in the face.

Cassaundra Roberts didn't realize what had happened at first. There were some men in a nearby soccer field who were flying the automated device. "I hear the guys go 'Whoa!' and I see the drone coming in our direction, and all of a sudden it shot over the swings and flew right into my kid's face," she told

She could see her 1-year-old baby's lip was split. Then the blood began to flow. "I've never had an accident like this before," she said. She scooped up Atticus and grabbed his 4-year-old brother and sprinted for her car in the parking lot of an Iowa public playground. One of the guys from the soccer field came running, shouting "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry," Cassaundra recalled.

But she was intent on getting Atticus to the hospital, so she didn't stop or get his contact information.

"I just picked up my kids and we were gone," she said. 

Atticus, naturally, was upset — and quite vocal about it.

He screamed and cried in the car. "He was hurting and he kept trying to touch his mouth," which had swollen to at least twice its normal size. He also had a deep cut on his cheek from the four-propeller drone.

It took five stitches to fix him up. "We had to hold him down" to get the wounds sewed up, his mom said. 

The Bettendorf Police asked for the public's help in identifying the drone operators. It's illegal to fly a drone in a city park without permission. 

A 19-year-old man had been playing with his dad's drone in the park, with his grandparents, when it got away from him and crashed into Atticus. Cassaundra said she realizes it was not intentional. "In all honesty, it is an accident. I can accept that. The guy did seem like he was genuinely sorry," the mother said. "It was nothing serious, like he had to have surgery. It's not as if they hit his eye."

A ticket and fine were issued, a police spokesman said Tuesday. Cassaundra is fine with that.

The stitches are gone from Atticus' face. He has a tiny scar on his cheek that may fade with time. "There's nothing we can do about it," she said.

"He's only 1," she added. "I don't even know if he remembers it now."