November 2, 2012

U of L student arrested for shining laser pointer at helicopter pilots

By Michelle Eigenheer–

University of Louisville student Jeffry Ledington, 19, has been charged with two counts of wanton endangerment after he was arrested early Sunday, October 21, after he, according to police, shone a laser pointer at an LMPD helicopter, temporarily binding the pilots.

“The whole cockpit lit up green. Couldn’t really see anything but green as we were coming around. Immediately averted my eyes and continued in the turn to turn away from the laser,” said Officer Carey Hirtzel, oneo f two LMPD officers in the helicopter.

The officers were able to track the laser light to Unitas Tower, where they shined their own light into Ledinton’s dorm window and called for backup. University police arrived and took him to metro corrections.

A law was passed this February that specifically prohibits people from shining a laser pointer at an aircraft or inits path, meaning that ledington is facing federal charges. If convicted, the sentence could lead up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

“It’s all fun and games until you shine a laser at a helicopter and we’re landing in your front yard. We’re going to lock you up,” says Officer Bryan Arnold, the other officer in the helicopter.

Law enforcement agencies involved include University Police, LMPD, the FBI and the U.S. District Attorney’s office.

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