FHP pilot temporarily blinded in the sky by a laser, lands his plane, makes an arrest

Stephen Hudak, Orlando Sentinel
·2 min read

Temporarily blinded Saturday morning by a laser pointed at him from 1,000 feet below, a Florida Highway Patrol pilot alerted other aircraft about the flying hazard then landed his plane and began an investigation that led to the arrest of a Kissimmee man at a multi-story construction site.

Guillermo Negron Roque, 47, was jailed pending a charge of pointing a laser light at a pilot, a second-degree felony.

The bright flash of green light startled FHP pilot J.C. Pollock as he was flying west of Interstate 4 about 6:30 a.m.

“At first I thought I was about to have a mid-air collision with another aircraft and the color green I was seeing was a navigational light from another aircraft,” Pollock wrote in a report. “The flash of green light was so bright that I temporarily experienced blindness.”

After refocusing, Pollock traced the laser’s light trail that had flooded his cockpit to a work site at the Dr. Phillips Academic Commons on West Livingston Street, part of the University of Central Florida’s downtown campus. According to his report, Pollock landed at Orlando Executive Airport, hopped into his patrol car and drove to the area where he believed the beam had originated.

A construction supervisor confirmed he had seen someone at the site using a laser but was unsure who it was.

Other workers denied they had a laser.

About three hours later, however, two construction supervisors provided troopers with a name of a worker, who had used a handheld laser to point out job locations.

According to the report, Negron Roque was showing another laborer work that needed to be done between the 7th and 8th floors of a building under construction.

He told troopers he saw a low-flying plane that flew in the path of the beam.

Pollock noted in his report that he was flying “substantially higher” than the building and the beam was aimed at his aircraft twice — from different directions.

shudak@orlandosentinel.com