Man Points Laser at KTLA Helicopter, Faces 5 Years
KTLA News' Sky 5 helicopter via Michael Dorausch / Flickr.
If you aim your laser pointer at an airplane or helicopter, you could go to jail. Last year President Obama signed a bill that makes it a federal crime.
A winner from Colorado, 25-year-old Isaias Gonzalez, is one of the law's first examples. Authorities say he pointed a laser at KTLA and sheriff's helicopters in L.A:
It happened Sept. 6, feds say. He aimed a green laser at the choppers. Not cool. Pilots complain that this could temporarily blind them and cause an accident.
There was speculation that a temporary blinding could have have been a factor in the July 6 crash of an Asiana jetliner at San Francisco airport that ultimately saw the deaths of three teens headed to L.A. for summer camp.
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One of the pilots complained that he was temporarily blinded on approach -- he didn't mention a laser specifically -- although the National Transportation Safety Board seemed to discount the report.
Gonzalez, meanwhile, pleaded guilty this week to "one count of a federal indictment that charged him with pointing the beam of a laser at aircraft in the special maritime jurisdiction of the United States," according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office in L.A.
He was busted by sheriff's deputies and the FBI.
It's only the second time the federal laser law has led to a conviction, prosecutors say. The other bust? Also in L.A.
Gonzales faces five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine when he sees his judge in December, feds say.
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