March 4, 2009 in City

WSP seeking victims, witnesses in laser incident

By The Spokesman-Review
The Spokesman-Review photo

Washington State Patrol demonstrates the brightness of a hand-held green laser light.
(Full-size photo)

State authorities are concerned about a laser light incident reported Tuesday in Spokane on Interstate 90. Officials say the bright lights are a dangerous distraction.

Washington State Patrol is looking for witnesses who may have seen two people shining a hand-held green laser light into vehicles on Interstate 90. Victims are sought as well.

“The lights can be distracting, which could lead to a collision,” said WSP Trooper Mark Baker. “They can also hurt people’s eyes.

The Spokane incident began about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to a Washington State Patrol press release.

“A White 1995 Chevrolet K1500 pickup truck, with two occupants, was reported to be shining a hand held green laser beam at motorists while driving down the interstate,” Capt. Jeff DeVere wrote in a press release. “Some were believed to be ‘lighted up’ from behind and others either from the rear or from the side.”

Two people were eventually taken into custody, said Trooper Mark Baker, but later released and not charged. They could face a misdemeanor charge of discharge of a laser at other motorists.

Washington State Patrol has identified one victim, authorities said. The agency is looking for additional victims and witnesses in Tuesday night’s incident or during any time in recent weeks.

The same type of laser light also has been cause for concern in Western Washington.

On Sunday and Feb. 22, someone pointed a green laser at an airplane landing at Sea-Tac Airport.

The crew of a Horizon Airlines plane from Portland reported the light from north of Boeing Field in Seattle. Police did not find any suspects.

The laser light incident in Spokane and the ones reported at Sea-Tac Airport are a coincidence, authorities said.

Police, the Federal Aviation Administration and Transportation Security Administration are investigating the Sea-Tac incident as well as the Feb. 22 flashings when a dozen planes were lit up.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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