By Rick Sallinger

WELD COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – It was very late Friday night over rural Weld County when a Banner Health Medevac helicopter was hit with the piercing light from a laser. As many know, lasers aimed into cockpits can be dangerous.

(credit: Banner Health)

“When it hits the cockpit it disperses going repeatedly into the pilots eyes,” said Metro State Aviation Professor Jeff Price. He adds what happened next was not very common.

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In Weld County, near Kersey, the pilot landed and called for help before having to fly off.

In 2014, a Denver Police helicopter was hit by lasers and an arrest was made. Nathan James Finneman pleaded guilty to assault on an aircraft and given probation.

(credit: CBS)

“Did you realize that this could blind a pilot?” CBS4’s Rick Salllinger asked Finneman.

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“I had no idea and even as dim as the laser point was, it blew me away. It was an $8 laser pointer you could get,” he said.

(credit: CBS)

Finding him was not hard. The Denver Police helicopter’s infrared camera was able to pick out exactly where the laser beam was coming from, it turns out it was Finneman’s home.

At the time he told CBS4, “I recommend to anybody, even if $8 laser pen, do not point it in the air.”

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He was prosecuted by federal authorities. The Weld County Sheriff is investigating the Medevac
helicopter incident from this past weekend.

Rick Sallinger