ELYRIA, Ohio (WJW) — Three people were arrested last week, accused of shining lasers and an LED spotlight at an Ohio State Highway Patrol helicopter, which is a federal offense.

The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed the pilot of an Airbus AS350 was hit with a green-and-blue laser while flying over Elyria the night of April 14. No one was injured.

Though strikes from commercially available lasers aren’t likely to cause permanent injury, they can be a dangerously disorienting mid-flight distraction or cause temporary blindness, according to the FAA.

“The FAA is committed to maintaining the safest air transportation system in the world. Aiming a laser at an aircraft is a serious safety hazard that puts everyone on the plane and on the ground below at risk. It is also a violation of federal law,” reads a statement from an FAA spokesperson.

The three people arrested April 14 were:

  • Ray B. Woods, 61, of Wakeman
  • Jason R. McCloskey, 54, of Elyria
  • Louis F. Bernard, 42, of Elyria

Each faces a second-degree felony count of interfering with the operation of an aircraft and was given a $15,000 personal recognizance bond during their arraignments last week in Elyria Municipal Court, records show. Preliminary hearings set for Monday, April 17, were continued.

Fines for shining lasers at an aircraft can get up to $11,000 and up to $30,800 for multiple incidents, according to the FAA. The FAA doled out $120,000 in fines in 2021.

Pilots reported 9,500 laser strikes to the FAA last year, according to the spokesperson. That’s up from fewer than 4,000 incidents 10 years ago. There have been more than 2,500 incidents reported so far this year, including 54 in Ohio, according to an interactive tool on the U.S. Department of Transportation website.

Here’s where you can report laser strikes to the FAA.