RIVERSIDE (AP) — A Southern California man has been sentenced to 19 months in federal prison for pointing a laser at a California Highway Patrol helicopter.

Prosecutors say 19-year-old Nathan Wells, who was arrested last year in Cathedral City, pleaded guilty in September to a felony count of interference with an operator of an aircraft.

Besides the prison sentence, a Riverside federal judge on Monday ordered ordered Wells to be on supervised release for three years, during which he must spend three months at a community corrections center administered by the United States Bureau of Prisons.

The CHP helicopter was helping Cathedral City police handle a residential burglary report when a bright green light hit the cockpit. The pilot and a crew member had to look away from the laser and alter their course.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (4)
  1. James says:

    JUSTICE!!!! NOT!

  2. Richard in Castaic says:

    As a pilot who has been on the receiving end of one of these toy, microwatt lasers I can tell you that they are totally harmless and even funny. These cases are laughable. Let’s not forget the CHP’s penchant for blinding drivers with bright lights when they pull them over. This is so absurd.

  3. swhit says:

    Give a rapist or child beater 2yrs and give someone who shines a light 19 months uhum, yep, right, that’s fair – NOT

  4. sam says:

    talk about a blatant use and abuse of police power.. Simply amazing that they get away with this kind of stuff.

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