Low Flyer Pleads Not Guilty To Reckless Endangerment

David J. Wisner

David Wisner, the local pilot charged by Sag Harbor Police with reckless endangerment in the second degree, a misdemeanor, for buzzing downtown Sag Harbor’s waterfront on April 13, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Sag Harbor Justice Court on Friday, May 7. The case was scheduled for a conference on July 2. Mr. Wisner’s attorney said he was seeking to negotiate a plea deal on behalf of his client.

“This is standard in any criminal case,” his lawyer, Colin Patrick Astarita, commented by text message on Saturday, “and we will have a series of conference dates until we can work at a plea bargain that is satisfactory to all sides.”

Recorded tracks showed Mr. Wisner’s 182 at 50 feet in the vicinity of the 90-foot flagpole at the foot of Main Street. He also buzzed parts of Springs during the same 45-minute flight.

“Unfortunately, the police do not have much of a say in what happens” in court, commented Sag Harbor Police Chief Austin J. McGuire, who was among the many people in Sag Harbor and Springs who witnessed Mr. Wisner’s extreme low flying that day. “The plea is up to the D.A.’s office and the judge.”

“Yes, there is very strong evidence for that charge,” he added in reply to a text message early on Monday. “We pushed for the felony level of reckless endangerment, but the D.A.’s office didn’t go for it. Unfortunately, as of late, we have seen this in other cases as well.”

There was no immediate response from the D.A.’s office to an emailed request for comment.