Med Flight pilot suffers eye injury from laser pointer

From Columbia County Sheriff's Dept:

On December 25th, 2018 at approximately 5pm the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office responded to a UTV crash On Crown Road in the Town of Scott. The Town of Scott is located north of Pardeeville, WI. A 17 year-old Male suffered injuries, including a head injury. As a result of the injuries Med Flight was contacted to assist. Med Flight was unable to land at the scene of the crash and requested a landing zone in the Village of Pardeeville.

As Med Flight was attempting to land to treat and transport the crash victim, a person or persons on the ground utilized a strong laser pointer and shined it towards the helicopter. This created an unsafe condition for the operation of the helicopter posing a threat to the helicopters flight and those on the ground. The pilot of the helicopter suffered an eye injury from the laser. The helicopter was utilizing night vision during the flight.

Med Flight was forced to abort the landing and had to return to its home base where the pilot was treated for the injury. The crash victim had to be transported for treatment via ground ambulance.

During the initial investigation a Columbia County Deputy was injured attempting to locate the person(s) responsible for utilizing the laser pointer. The Deputy suffered a lower leg injury which required treatment at a hospital.

Title 18 USC Chapter 2 § 39A, which makes it a Federal crime to aim a laser pointer at an aircraft. The crime is punishable by a fine up to $250,000 and five years’ imprisonment. Wisconsin Statue prohibits obstructing emergency or rescue personnel (941.37) a class I Felony and Reckless Endangerment (941.30) a class F Felony.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office is requesting public assistance regarding this crime. Anyone with information may call Crime Stoppers at 1(800)293-TIPS (8477) of Det. Sgt. AJ Agnew at (608) 742-4166 ext. 3318. This matter remains under investigation.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Med Flight, Pardeeville Fire, Pardeeville EMS and Divine Savior hospital.

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