Man Caught Pointing Laser at Plane: Police

FAA investigating incident in Richardson

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    NEWSLETTERS

    JuanJaen/Flickr
    Since the laser didn't impair vision, the offense is less serious for a Plano teen.

    An 18-year-old man was cited in Richardson on Thursday night for shining a laser at an airplane, police said.

    A Texas Department of Public Safety pilot who was hit by a bright light radioed an approximate location, and officers on the ground were able to locate the suspect, said Richardson police Sgt. Kevin Perlich.

    Richard Seth Eldridge of Plano was in a friend’s driveway in the 1800 block of Waterford Lane and admitted “playing” with the laser and pointing it toward the sky, Perlich said.

    Officers wrote him a ticket for “illumination of aircraft by intense light,” which is a Class C misdemeanor.  Had the laser impaired the vision of the pilot, the offense would be more serious.

    Eldridge has not yet responded to a request to comment.

    Three to five laser-pointing incidents are reported in North Texas every week  but few people are ever caught, said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford.

    The agency is investigating the Richardson incident and could impose an $11,000 civil fine, Lunsford said.

    In June 2011, in the first such case in North Texas, Sam Ladymon of Garland was arrested after pointing a laser at an FBI plane, authorities said. He faces 20 years in prison on federal charges. A trial is set for March 19, prosecutors said.