Joshua Vela & Jon Lopez: Face 5 Years for Pointing Lasers at Highly Maneuverable Helicopters Who Could Chase Them Down
Don't point that thing up.
Two 21-year-old men have been arrested and face up to five years in federal prison for aiming laser pointers at helicopters, the FBI says.
Joshua Nathaniel Vela and Jon David Lopez, both of Alice, will be arraigned Thursday in federal court, as the seriousness of the whole "being treated like terrorists" thing begins to settle in on them.
The FBI says the incident occurred December 27. It was especially funny because the guys pointed their lasers at Halo Flight helicopters, which are used for transporting victims. So not only were they (allegedly) able to endanger a pilot and a co-pilot, but also someone who might have been seriously injured!!
Once their no-doubt hysterical giggling was over, we'd have liked to see the look on their faces as they realized they had pointed their lasers not at a lumbering 747 that had no choice but to continue climbing up its takeoff path, but instead at a highly maneuverable aircraft that could keep them in sight as authorities were contacted.
Laser-pointing is something authorities are definitely interested in these days.
"In response to a growing number of incidents of pilots being distracted or even temporarily blinded by laser beams," the FBI says, "Congress passed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which specifically prohibits aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft."
Vela and Lopez each face up to five years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.