Drone helps authorities in manhunt - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Drone helps authorities in manhunt

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Authorities are crediting the use of their drone in helping them close out a two-hour long manhunt in Eastern Iowa. 

The Butler County Sheriff's office responded to a rollover crash on County Highway C13 near Greene Sunday afternoon.  According to Iowa State Patrol, 28-year-old Brandy Hayner of Shell Rock, drove into the ditch and rolled. Hayner was airlifted to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, but authorities were looking for someone else. 

Shortly after the crash, Sgt. Travis Bartz from the Floyd County Sheriff's office says their team was called in to help. 

"First thing we did was try to look for the subject that had left, that had fled the scene on foot," said Sgt. Bartz. "So we used the drone to fly over the corn to try to track down where the subject may have went."

 The manhunt alarmed nearby neighbors. Sharon Johnson, who was out of town at the time, got a text from a friend.

"She said something about a prisoner escaped so we said woah," said Johnson. "We called our brother-in-law he lives just about a mile away and said maybe you better check our house and lock the cars or get the keys out of the cars anyway."

Faced with miles of fields and only eyes on the ground, Butler County authorities knew they had to call in for a drone. Once the Floyd County Sheriff's office was able to put their drone in the air, they were able to pinpoint exactly where the person was hiding-closing out a nearly two hour long manhunt.

"He was found at a nearby residence about two hours later," said Sgt. Bartz. 

Sgt. Bartz says the drone has become an invaluable asset when faced with situations where there's more than meets the eye.

"We just don't-we don't want to send a search party, whether it be firemen or law enforcement into a cornfield where you can't see very good," said Johnson. "That's an officer safety risk-a public safety risk to search for that. So with the drone we can fly over the corn and cover a lot more territory and it's safe for everybody."

After two hours, neighbors were relieved authorities were able to use the drone to find who they were looking for. 

"Kinda scary-you know," said Johnson. "They can hide in a cornfield for days you know."

The Floyd County Sheriff's Office has had their drone for about a month. This manhunt makes the second time they've put their drone into action to save critical time during a search. 

"It's creating efficiency, officer safety, and we're able to find people quicker," said Sgt. Bartz. 

Iowa State Patrol says that the person who led authorities on a manhunt was arrested for an outside warrant, out of Chickasaw County. 

According to authorities, the driver of the car was airlifted to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. There is no update on her condition. 

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