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Ocala Man Blinds Helicopter Pilot With Hair Comb

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A Marion County Sheriff’s Office helicopter pilot was temporarily blinded when an Ocala man pointed his hair comb toward the sky Wednesday morning.

Mark Geoghagan, 55, said he was experimenting with his Bosley hair laser comb in the backyard of his Ocala home, testing the laser’s reach when he aimed it at the sky. A helicopter piloted by Sgt. Darren Bruner and tactical flight officer Sgt. John Rawls, was flying overhead, according to a police report.

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Mark Geoghagan.

Geoghagan was arrested shortly after the incident by MSCO officials, and charged with pointing a laser light at a driver or pilot of a sheriff’s department helicopter or pilot, a third degree felony.

“When they flew by I pointed it that way, and I had no idea that that would even reach anywhere, no sir!” Geoghagan told police when they confronted him at his home, according to the report.

When Geoghagan handed the comb over, the arresting officer pointed out the yellow label on the comb that stated to avoid direct eye exposure.

While in discussion with the officers, Geoghagan offered his personal services to anything Bruner or Rawls might need, according to the report.

“Is there anything I can do for them?” Geoghagan said to officer on site. “I’ll even cut their grass.”

The police report cited Geoghagan showed signs that he may be under the influence of alcohol.

Bruner and Rawls had been assisting ground deputies with a suspicious vehicle investigation before Bruner cautioned that his helicopter had been struck by a laser three to four times, according to the report.

Bruner then directed ground patrol to Geoghagan’s address.

Lauren Lettelier, spokesperson for MCSO, said their aviation units come into contact with lasers quite frequently, and she wants the public to understand just how dangerous they can be.

“It seemed to the investigators in this case that this gentleman did not do it maliciously, but what if that laser had blinded our pilots for so long that they couldn’t see where they were going and they crashed?” Lettelier said.

“I mean that’s just the worst case scenario that could happen, and we don’t want that to happen.”

In August of 2014, Geoghagan was charged with boating under the influence and was sentenced to two days in the Marion County Jail. He was also sentenced to 12 months of probation through this August.

About Patrick Pinak

Patrick is a reporter for WUFT News who may be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news @wuft.org

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