A Florida construction worker is going to wish he had come up with a better story. Guillermo Negron Roque, 47, landed in jail pending second-degree felony charges after aiming a laser at a Florida Highway Patrol aircraft. FHP pilot J.C. Pollack, patrolling at approximately 1,000 ft agl at 6:30 am Feb.6 over Orlando, was temporarily blinded. Nevertheless, he was able to pinpoint the source of the blinding green light—a multi-story construction site on the downtown campus of the University of Central Florida.
After landing safely at Orlando Executive Airport, Pollack drove his patrol car to the construction site to investigate. The site supervisor told him he had seen someone on the project using a laser, but didn’t know who. Pollack questioned several workers who denied having a laser, but three hours later, supervisors identified Kissimmee resident Negron Rogue, explaining he was using a laser as a pointer to identify work sites on the seventh and eighth stories. The supervisors told the FHP that Negron Roque said he saw a low-flying plane pass through the beam.
Pollack was having none of that explanation, pointing out that, not only was he flying substantially above the height of the building, but also that he observed the laser beam aimed at his aircraft twice, from different locations.
Aiming a laser at an aircraft is a federal crime, punishable by up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, or both.