February 7, 2017
Oklahoma Man Indicted for Aiming Laser Pointing Device at Aircraft
On February 7, 2017, Jay Scott Howell of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was indicted by a Federal grand jury in Tulsa and charged with aiming a laser pointing device at an aircraft. Allegedly, during the night of December 29, 2016, Howell knowingly aimed the beam of a laser pointing device at a Tulsa Police Department helicopter.
The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 was enacted to modernize the Nation's aviation system and established a new criminal offense for aiming the beam of a laser pointer at an aircraft or at the flight path of an aircraft. The criminal statute was a response to a growing number of safety incidents in which pilots were distracted or temporarily blinded by laser beams.
Note: Indictments, informations, and criminal complaints are only accusations by the Government. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.