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Man Who Pointed Laser at CHP Chopper Sentenced to Time in Federal Prison

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19-year-old Nathan Ramon Wells is learning the very hard way that aiming a laser pointer at the wrong target at the wrong time has some serious consequences. The Cathedral City man was sentenced yesterday to serve 15 months in a federal prison, along with three years on supervised release.

Wells pointed a green laser at a California Highway Patrol helicopter on June 3, 2009, as the aircraft was assisting the local police in a burglary call in a residential area. Wells aimed the light at the helicopter while it hovered at about 700 feet, and illuminated the cockpit, forcing the officers to go off course when they looked away. Authorities on the ground stopped Wells, who had been sitting in a vehicle with the laser. He pleaded guilty to a felony count of interference with an operator of an aircraft.