Mar 10, 2014 1:37 PM
Sergio Patrick Rodriguez, 26, of Clovis, Calif., was sentenced today to 14 years in prison for aiming a laser pointer at Fresno police helicopter Air 1, and attempting to interfere with its operation.
According to the evidence presented at trial, Rodriguez and his girlfriend Jennifer Lorraine Coleman, 23, aimed a high-powered laser pointer at the cockpit of Air 1 during a clear summer night in 2012. Air 1 had responded to the apartment complex where Rodriguez and Coleman resided near the Fresno Yosemite International Airport to investigate the report of laser strikes on Air George, an emergency transport helicopter for Children’s Hospital of Central California.
The laser pointer that Rodriguez and Coleman used was 13 times more powerful than the permissible power level for hand-held laser devices. The crew members of both Air 1 and Air George testified that the laser strikes caused significant visual interference.
The sentencing for Coleman will take place May 12, 2014 and she faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.