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TCSO Concerned About Laser Incident

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Sonora, CA — The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office reports that a medical helicopter had to deal with a laser light being pointed at it during a late-night flight.

The helicopter left Adventist Health Sonora to transport a patient to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto. About two minutes into the flight, the pilot saw a green laser pointed at the aircraft from the ground. The crew continued the flight, and on the way back, the green light reappeared from the same neighborhood. The pilot determined that it was coming from the vicinity of sleepy Hollow Road south of Highway 108.

The Sheriff’s Office indicates that the malicious use of a laser light at an aircraft carries a range of penalties.  A misdemeanor has a fine up to $1,000 and a year in jail, a felony conviction is punishable by 16 months, 2-3 years in state prison and a $2,000 fine.

On a federal level, a conviction for aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft is a felony punishable by up to five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The sheriff’s office encourages residents to watch a video released by the FBI related to the topic. You can view it by clicking the video box.

The local incident happened this past Friday at around 11pm.