BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A Bakersfield man was sentenced Monday to one month in prison for aiming a laser beam at a Kern County Sheriff’s Office helicopter.
Richard Earl Francis, 51, of Bakersfield was sentenced to one month in prison, 11 months of home detention and 36 months of supervised release, according to Department of Justice officials in Fresno.
While the county sheriff’s helicopter was patrolling Oildale on July 28, 2022, Francis shined a green laser in the cockpit four times, according to officials. The laser strike resulted in one of the airmen having a temporary loss of vision in one eye.
In a release, officials said an average of three laser strikes per month were reported in Bakersfield last year.
Francis pleaded guilty in December of 2022.