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Super Dell gets fined for paraglider buzzing

Published June 14, 2006 12:49 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2006, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Paragliding enthusiast "Super" Dell Schanze - charged with disrupting traffic by buzzing Interstate 15 last month - was sentenced Tuesday to probation, counseling and a fine.

Schanze pleaded no contest in Draper City's justice court to a class B misdemeanor count of public nuisance.

In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dismissed a count of disorderly conduct, an infraction.

The public-nuisance conviction carried a potential six-month jail term, but Judge Daniel Bertch suspended the jail time in favor of a $300 fine and one year of probation.

A Schanze supporter paid the fine on the spot.

"I was grateful, and I kissed her feet in front of all the cameras," Schanze later told The Salt Lake Tribune during a phone interview. "I told her I'd be happy to take her paragliding."

On May 24, Draper police responded to reports of a motorized paraglider flying over I-15 at about the height of a two-story building. Police received reports that Schanze was the pilot and that he was flying low enough that witnesses feared he might crash. Utah Highway Patrol troopers said drivers were watching the paraglider rather than the road.

Schanze said Tuesday he was flying over an empty field for the majority of his flight but acknowledged crossing the freeway - legally, he claims - at about 500 feet.

Schanze said the FAA did not intend to file charges. But Draper City Prosecutor Melanie Serassio said she understood the FAA was waiting for the criminal case to conclude before proceeding with potential civil sanctions. Calls from The Tribune to the FAA in Seattle were not returned.

As a condition of his probation, Schanze must undergo an evaluation at a counseling agency and complete whatever treatment is recommended, Serassio said.

But Schanze's attorney, Michael Bassett, said the counseling agency will simply act "as a facilitator to make sure my client follows the law."

Schanze claimed he is being singled out by Draper police, who last year arrested him for allegedly brandishing a gun at several residents angry that Schanze was speeding through their neighborhood.

"Have they ever charged a paraglider with a crime in the history of time?" he asked. "But there is no law against what I did. They had to make something up, pull something out of their butt crack."

Despite his recent legal trouble and the dissolution of his computer-store empire, which he blames on the news media, Schanze said, "My heart is still full of love. I'm not bitter or angry about all these injuries. That's why so many people love Super Dell."







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