Man facing charges after pointing laser at Collier sheriff’s office helicopter

Reporter: Gail Levy Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
kastroll mug

A man could face charges for pointing a laser at a Collier County Sheriff’s Office helicopter. This comes after the FAA expressed concerns over the increase in laser incidents.

The man confessed to shining a laser into the eyes of a sheriff’s office helicopter pilot. Naples police were able to arrest the man.

While no one with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office or the Naples Police Department wanted to speak about the incident, a former pilot talked about Christopher Kastroll’s arrest and said lasers put everyone in danger during a flight.

Captain Lee Collins flew commercial planes for a few decades. He has seen a bright green flash during his time. But luckily, he was able to land the aircraft safely.

“Can cause them to have what field media pilots will report what feels like sand in their eyes for a few hours after the incident happened,” said Captain Collins.

“What was troubling for us at the time and still to this day within the industry is that it’s an ever-increasing problem,” Collins said.

From 2020 to 2021, reports of laser-related incidents rose 41%. Last week, WINK News brought you a story with Captain Collins about the rise in laser incidents.

Now, according to Collins, the message is being received. Kastroll admitted to pointing the laser at the helicopter but said he didn’t think the light would actually reach it.

“There needs, needs to be a better level of, or an increased level of awareness and education, to the general public about how not to use these so that we can provide a safer flying environment skies above our cities,” Collins said.

Collins says the bottom line is that lasers are dangerous to pilots, and everyone needs to know it.

Pointing a laser at an aircraft is a federal crime. First-time offenders could receive a fine of $11,000. If you’re convicted once more, the fine reaches $38,000 and the possibility of five years in prison.

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