Everett man accused of shining laser at state patrol plane

He reportedly ran away and hid in some bushes. The plane crew tracked him down.

EVERETT — An Everett man was arrested early Friday morning after he allegedly shined a laser pointer at a Washington State Patrol airplane.

State patrol troopers responded shortly after midnight to the 4100 block of Hoyt Avenue in Everett, where the airplane crew had spotted two people on the balcony of an apartment building. They allegedly took off running south on Hoyt Avenue.

The plane crew followed one of them and gave directions to the troopers on the ground. The suspect reportedly hid in some bushes on Colby Avenue. Troopers ordered him out. The man refused initially, but eventually got out, according to an arrest report.

The 41-year-old man didn’t provide a statement to police. The plane crew could not tell which person on the balcony was pointing the laser, but troopers found a handheld green laser pointer near the bushes, according to court papers.

During the arrest, the suspect appeared to have trouble breathing. Troopers administered Narcan and had him transported to Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, where a doctor medically cleared him to be booked into the Snohomish County Jail.

The state patrol airplane, named Smokey 3, is a single engine Cessna 206 that is equipped with digital high definition and infrared cameras, according to a 2014 King 5 story.

The suspect was released Friday after posting $5,000 bond. He is being investigated for first-degree unlawful discharge of a laser, a felony.

It’s a crime that, when it happens, is often seriously investigated, as pointing a laser at an aircraft can be particularly hazardous to the crew. In 2014, the FBI offered a $10,000 reward for anyone who could help identify suspects in “lasing” incidents statewide, as part of an effort to crack down on the crime and deter people from doing it in the future. That included one case where a person pointed a laser at a Whidbey Island Naval Air Station aircraft.

A Port Angeles man was arrested last year for pointing a laser at a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter and lying to FBI agents. According to U.S. attorneys, he could face up to five years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine. He’s scheduled to go to trial in November.

Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; zbryan@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @zachariahtb.

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