WEIRSDALE – Lake County deputies arrested a man early Friday morning after he admitted to pointing a green laser at a Marion County Sheriff’s helicopter.
The helicopter was working on an unrelated call when they were lasered 15-20 times of which 6 were direct hits to the pilot and spotter Thursday night at approximately 11:30 p.m.
According to the police report, the helicopter pilot finished working their call and returned to the spot where they were hit with the laser and then were hit a few more times. Using the spotlight, they were able to get a description of the residence and vehicles from where the laser came from. The then contacted Lake County deputies with the description.
Lake County deputies were able to get the address of the residence using the description and officers were dispatched to the location where they found Phillip Willman.
Willman admitted to deputies that he had pointed the laser at the helicopter but stated he only did it once.
Willman was arrested and charged with six felony counts of pointing a laser light at a driver or pilot. He was transported to the Lake County Jail where he was later released after posting a $30,000 bond.
Pointing a laser at a pilot or driver is a felony federal offense as described by F.S.S. 784.062 (3)(a) which states, “Any person who knowingly and willfully shines, points, or focuses the beam of a laser lighting device on an individual operating a motor vehicle, vessel, or aircraft commits a felony of the third degree” and is punishable with up to $15,000 in fines and 5 years in prison.