Man charged with pointing laser at police plane in Chesterfield

Published: Jul. 31, 2013 at 10:09 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 10, 2013 at 10:10 PM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A Chesterfield man is under investigation, accused of aiming a green laser pointer at a State Police plane.

Authorities say 20-year-old Matthew Farr created some dangerous moments for that pilot. Farr was arrested at his home this past weekend, but says he didn't realize what he was doing.

For Trooper pilot Adam Culbertson, a green laser shining into his cockpit was scary, painful, and dangerous. He was flying over Chesterfield County, practicing at night.

"It was very distracting and it causes you to involuntarily close your eyes," said Culbertson. "It causes the pain that hits you in the face."

It scares him to think about what might have happened, if his eyes had been injured.

"I was a single pilot, the only person in the airplane. Had my eyes been damaged from the laser, it's very possible I wouldn't have been possible to make it back on the ground safely."

From the sky, Culbertson was able to help State Police track down the man who is reportedly responsible.

Farr didn't want to speak on camera about what happened, but said he started pointing the laser at the plane while he was hanging out with a friend. He said he had no idea the plane was a State Trooper or that he was shining it in the Trooper's eyes. He was surprised when State Police showed up at his house.

Pointing a laser at a pilot, or a trooper for that matter, is a crime in Virginia. Green lasers can cause eye injuries and completely incapacitate pilots.

Scarier yet, the laser was reportedly being used in an area used by commercial pilots flying into Richmond. It could have been a plane carrying hundreds of passengers.

Farr is due in court in August for this crime. An FAA investigation  could mean more consequences for Farr.

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