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Man gets 18 months in prison for laser strike on Fresno police helicopter

32-year-old Michael Vincent Alvarez of Fresno sentenced to 18 months in prison for pointing laser at police helicopter (Booking photo FCSO)

32-year-old Michael Vincent Alvarez of Fresno was sentenced to 18 months in prison for striking a Fresno police helicopter with a powerful green laser beam.

The helicopter known as Air-1 was hit several times on October 22, 2017, causing visual interference for the pilot who was providing air support to a domestic violence call.

It was determined that laser was coming from the vehicle being driven on Highway 99 by Alvarez.

When ground units closed in on Alvarez, officers say he took, leading them on a high speed chase until he crash into the center divider at First St. and Floradora Ave.

Officers say Alvarez tried to run away but was arrested in a backyard.

The green laser pointer was found inside the vehicle.

The Federal Aviation Administration reported 6,771 laser strikes on aircraft in 2017.

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