Laser Pointing Incident Leads to Arrest

By Peter Neumann

Laser Pointing Incident Leads to Arrest

July 23, 2010 Updated Jul 23, 2010 at 2:15 PM EDT

Jennings County, IND (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- An 18-year-old Jennings County man has been arrested and jailed, charged with criminal reckless because police say he pointed a laser at an Indiana State Police helicopter.

Here is the press release from Indiana State police that details the incident:

Jennings County: In early June at approximately 3:00 a.m. an Indiana State Police sergeant and helicopter pilot, Rick Cool and Tpr. Tim Cummins were flying back to Indianapolis after a late night aerial search in Clark County. While flying over Jennings County Sgt. Cool noticed a green light on the door of the helicopter. Sgt. Cool, suspecting the light to be light from a fixed wing aircraft, took evasive action to avoid a mid-air collision and the light disappeared. Shortly thereafter the green light reappeared in the cockpit. Sgt. Cool then suspected the light to be a laser light coming from the ground and began a circular search of the area and obtained a GPS reading. Troopers and Jennings County deputies on the ground began a ground search for the suspect but to no avail.

Detective Roger Drew of the Indiana State Police began a joint investigation with Special Agent Jeremy Michaels of the FBI Indianapolis office. The investigation led to a suspect, 18 year old Clint L. Williams, Jr. of North Vernon. After several discussions between Jennings County Prosecuting Attorney, Alan Marshall and the United States Attorney’s office it was decided to bring state charges against Williams. Yesterday afternoon Detective Drew arrested Williams at his home without incident. He is currently being held in the Jennings County Jail facing one count of Criminal Recklessness, a Class B Misdemeanor. A Class B Misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of up to180 days in jail and a $1000 fine. Charged federally, Williams could be facing two to five years in federal prison with the two year mandatory minimum.

It is important for the public to realize that pointing a laser at a person or a vehicle is extremely dangerous; however pointing a laser at an aircraft can be catastrophic. In this incident the helicopter could have easily crashed killing the pilot, the passenger, and innocent persons on the ground. For this reason, incidents such as this are taken various seriously by law enforcement and if caught, perpetrators can expect to be prosecuted.

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