California resident Sergio Patrick Rodriguez was sentenced to 14 years in prison Monday for aiming a laser pointer at a police helicopter in 2012. And we’d say this genius should be nominated for the Darwin Awards for this feat of moronic ability, except that we also think that we should say that this is a reminder to not do every funny thing that you can imagine while really drunk.
Not that alcohol may be involved in this case. Mr. Rodriguez, 26, of Clovis, California. and his just-as-brilliant girlfriend 23-year-old Jennifer Lorraine Coleman were both convicted in December for aiming the high-powered green laser at the cockpit of Fresno’s PD’s Air 1 helicopter during a summer night in 2012. Air 1 was responding to an earlier laser strike report on an emergency children’s hospital helicopter near Fresno Yosemite International Airport, close to where Rodriguez lives, when Air 1 was also hit. Both pilots reported the laser–which was 13 times more powerful than is permissible for hand-held lasers. Seriously, Rodriguez?
“We in federal law enforcement understand the dangers posed by laser strikes on aircraft,” U.S. District of California Attorney Benjamin Wagner stated in a Department of Justice press release.“This is not a game. It is dangerous, and it is a felony. Those who aim lasers at aircraft should know that we will seek to convict them, and we will seek to send them to prison. The safety of aircraft and the people in them demands no less.”
Rodriguez is no saint, either. He has a pretty extensive criminal background, including multiple probation violations and gang affiliation. United States District Judge Lawrence O’Neill definitely considered Rodriguez’s not so stellar background when sentencing him to 14 years. Moral of the story is…if you’re going to be playing with lasers, just stick with attending raves. Because the minute you start pointing those things where you’re not supposed to be, you could end up in jail for a long, long time.