Troopers Arrest Lincoln Man After Laser Strike on NSP Helicopter

(Lincoln, NE) -- A Lincoln man is arrested for pointing a high-powered laser pointer at a Nebraska State Patrol helicopter.

The state patrol says around 10:00 the night of March 10th, NSP pilots launched from the Lincoln Airport to assist the Lincoln Police Department with an operation. NSP says shortly after launching, while flying west of downtown Lincoln, the pilots reported a laser strike on the helicopter. The pilots also immediately reported the laser strike to Lincoln Air Traffic Control.

Investigators say while searching for the origin location of the laser, the pilots reported additional laser strikes on the helicopter. The state patrol says the pilots were then able to identify the source of the laser, which was a man walking on a path near Salt Creek, south of West O Street. The pilots directed troopers and LPD officers to the subject’s location.

Troopers located the suspect, 42 year old Lee Cimfel, just south of West O Street on the Salt Creek Levee Trail. Investigators say Cimfel was found to be in possession of a laser pointer and was taken into custody. The NSP says after consultation with the Lancaster County Attorney’s Office, Cimfel was taken to the Lancaster County Jail for second degree assault.

NSP has reported the laser strike to the Federal Aviation Administration. Pointing a laser at an aircraft is a federal offense and any laser strike constitutes an in-flight emergency.

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