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US: 2.5 years in prison for Calif. man
2 1/2 years in prison for laser interference with pilots
Dana Christian Welch, 37, of Orange, California was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. Welch also is to serve three years of supervised release after completing his prison term, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sherilyn Peace Garnett said.
The federal jury acquitted Welch of charges he tried to interfere with the pilots of a helicopter and a Delta Air Lines flight, the Register said.
There have been several defendants who have pleaded guilty to federal charges of pointing lasers at airplanes, but Welch was the first in the United States to be convicted of interfering with pilots with laser beams, the U.S. attorney's office said.
From UPI.com and Orange Police Department
UPDATE: City News Service added additional details: The laser beam struck a United pilot in the eye, causing "flash blindness," Garnett said. When Welch pointed the laser at the Alaska plane, one pilot ducked under a glare shield and the other pilot delayed a critical turn necessary to land the plane.
From NBC Los Angeles