Man Shines Laser Pointer At Police Helicopter, Gets 14 Years

Mar. 11, 2014

A Central Valley man who shined a laser pointer at a police helicopter two years ago was sentenced to 14 years in prison Monday, a stiff sentence that comes during a national crackdown on “lasing” aircraft, authorities said.

In handing down the penalty, U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill said distracting pilots with lasers is a serious offense with potentially deadly consequences.

[...]Sergio Patrick Rodriguez, 26, of Clovis, and his girlfriend Jennifer Lorraine Coleman, 23, were convicted of using a high-powered laser pointer to strike the cockpits of a Fresno police helicopter and a hospital transport helicopter near the Fresno Yosemite International Airport in the summer of 2012.

Crew members on both flights testified that the laser interfered with their vision.

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