On Thursday, February 27, 2014, at approximately 10:50p.m.,
a San Bernardino County Sheriff's patrol helicopter was targeted with a high
powered laser beam. The helicopter was
flying over the 15 freeway in Hesperia patrolling the High Desert when it was
struck multiple times. The laser was
being pointed from a moving vehicle traveling along the northbound 15
freeway. Both the pilot and flight
officer were temporarily blinded by the laser beam. The helicopter crew was able to follow the
vehicle and direct Hesperia Deputies to their location. Deputies quickly identified a female
passenger in the vehicle as being involved with the incident. They also located the green laser which was
used to target the helicopter. Jenny
Gutierrez was arrested and booked into the High Desert Detention Center under
Penal Code Section 247.5 Pointing a laser at Aircraft.
Laser strikes have increased this year across the
country. These devices have been
pointed at planes, airliners and helicopters from miles away. The light is
often diffused by the plane's windshield and can temporarily blind pilots.
The Federal Aviation Administration announced in 2011
that it would impose civil penalties up to $11,000 for pointing a laser at an
aircraft. In 2012 the FBI announced the ability
to bring criminal charges for pointing a laser at an aircraft , with penalties
of up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
If anyone has information about a laser strike or
witness someone pointing a laser at an aircraft immediately call 911.
Refer: Public Affairs Division
Phone No.: (909) 387-3700