|Published:||May 12, 2011 12:19 AM EDT|
|Updated:||May 11, 2011 9:06 PM EDT|
BUCKINGHAM, FL-Two Lee County sheriff's office pilots, temporarily blinded!
Just minutes later, deputies arrest a man for pointing a laser, at a helicopter circling a Lee County neighborhood!
A neighbor says, "They had the spotlight directly on his house."
This neighbor heard the helicopter circling her normally quiet neighborhood last night and was scared.
"I thought somebody broke out of jail."
She says she went inside, but when she says at least 10 sheriff's office vehicles flew down her road, her curiosity got the best of her, she came back out and that's when she says she saw the green light.
"I seen the laser flying around and we didn't know what it was. "
Deputies say it was 29 year old Michael Smith shining a laser pointer into the helicoptor, something deputy Mike Warner says can be extremely dangerous.
"It is a flash blindness, if you're in a dark room and somebody takes a camera and activates a flash you have a momentary blindness, typically ten 15 20 seconds or so , you can't see anything."
Deputies say the pilots night vision goggles went white and temporarily blinded them.
They were able to trace the laser back to Smith who was arrested.
We're told the deputies suffered irritation to their eyes.
"As these lasers get stronger and stronger, there is the possibility of eye damage, probably the most common would be burning to the cornea but the real threat is damage to the retina."
Neighbors say they don't understand Smith's actions but offer this explanation.
"He's not the brightest guy."
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