Posted on March 1, 2013 at 9:52 AM
DALLAS -- A Dallas man pled guilty Thursday morning to aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft, a federal offense punishable by five years in prison.
Kenneth Santodomingo, 22, is accused of aiming a green laser pointer at a Dallas Police Department Air One helicopter minutes before 4 a.m. on Jan. 28. Air One was called to help search for burglary suspects in a wooded area when the laser shot through the pilot's window, impairing his ability to control the helicopter
The pilot was able to lead officers to house near the 7000 block of Lake June Road after Santodomingo pointed the laser at the aircraft four times in a 10 minute period. In addition to the potential five year punishment, the 22-year-old also faces a $250,000 fine.
Santodomingo told officers he “wanted to see how far it would go” when asked why he pointed the laser at the helicopter and handed over the laser.
He will be sentenced on July 25, 2013, according to a press release.
Shining a laser pointer at an aircraft became a federal offense on Feb. 27, 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s website.
So far, there have been 13 laser incidents in the North Texas area this year, wrote Lynn Lunsford of the Federal Aviation Administration in an email. There were 91 incidents last year.
The FAA will be pursuing civil penatlies, Lunsford wrote.
To see what it's like for a pilot when a laser is pointed into a cockpit, click here