Tulsa Man Pleads Guilty To Aiming A Laser Pointer Multiple Times In The Flight Path Of A Tulsa Police Department Helicopter
TULSA, Okla. — A Tulsa man pleaded guilty today before United States District Court Judge Claire V. Eagan to aiming the beam of a laser pointer in the flight path of a Tulsa Police Department helicopter, announced Danny C. Williams Sr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma.
At the change of plea hearing, Carl Don Floyd, 43, of Tulsa, admitted that on February 15, 2014, he aimed a laser pointer three times in the flight path of a Tulsa Police Department helicopter that was travelling near his residence. Floyd was charged by a grand jury on March 5, 2014.
According to court documents, the first laser struck the front-left side of the aircraft. As the crew flew the helicopter towards the source of the laser a second laser struck an officer in both eyes. After the third laser strike, the crew was able to determine the source location. As a result of the laser strikes, the flight officer experienced flash blindness.
Sentencing is scheduled on February 20, 2015. Floyd faces the statutory maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.
In February 2012, President Obama signed into law a statute making it a federal crime to knowingly aim the beam of a laser pointer at or in the flight path of an aircraft. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there were 3,960 reports of laser strikes in the United States in 2013.
Floyd was charged with the crime following a joint investigation conducted by the Tulsa Police Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Joel-lyn A. McCormick prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.