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Man Charged After Blinding Helicopter Pilot with Flashlight

— Brent Patrick McGrath, 65, was charged with a gross misdemeanor crime against an aircraft this week in Nicollet County District Court.

NORTH MANKATO — A rural North Mankato man is facing a criminal charge after he reportedly pointed a flashlight and a medical helicopter and momentarily blinded the pilot.

Brent Patrick McGrath, 65, was charged with a gross misdemeanor crime against an aircraft this week in Nicollet County District Court.

McGrath allegedly pointed a flashlight at an air ambulance that was landing at the scene of an ATV rollover July 5 near Judson Bottom Road. Patricia Powers died at the scene.

The pilot was using night vision technology and said he was blinded by the flashlight beam while trying to land.

The pilot identified McGrath’s property as the source of the light, according to the court complaint.

McGrath reportedly gave three different stories about what he was doing. He reportedly first said he was walking his dog, then said he was looking for his loose dog and later claimed he was trying to identify the source of noise he suspected was farm equipment.

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Troy Shaffer
Troy Shaffer

About the Author: Troy is an Air Medical Career Expert passionate about a team approach to improving air medical safety from the ground up. Troy is a former Army medic, Army pilot, Coast Guard pilot and EMS pilot. Troy has taught hundreds of wannabe flight medics, flight nurses and EMS pilots the exact steps needed to launch air medical careers.

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