Investigation continues into ferry laser incident

MUKILTEO — Detectives with the Washington State Patrol are wrapping up their investigation into a man who allegedly shined a high-powered laser at two ferry captains last fall.

They expect to forward their findings to the Island County Prosecutor’s Office for review, Sgt. Kyle Smith said. The man, described as being in his mid-20s, is under investigation for assault and illegal laser use, both of which are potential felonies.

The State Patrol declined to provide the man’s exact age or city of residence.

“The agency cannot comment on the case until it’s closed and turned over to the prosecutor,” spokesman Kyle Moore said.

The Oct. 22 incident involved two ferries on the water between Mukilteo and Clinton. Washington State Ferries are policed by troopers.

The suspect was on the car deck of the Kitsap, headed toward Mukilteo, as it passed the Tokitae, which was on its way to Clinton. Two ferry captains were targeted by the laser in separate wheelhouses, according to police. One suffered a damaged retina and a first-degree burn to the eyelid. The burns initially were believed to be more serious. Neither captain required a trip to the emergency room.

Under state law, it’s illegal to use a laser to impair anyone operating a vehicle for a public or private transit system. The same goes for shining lasers at police, firefighters, pilots and school bus drivers.

Depending on how it’s prosecuted, the offense, called “unlawful discharge of a laser,” can be a felony or a misdemeanor. Troopers say they are investigating the ferry incident as a potential felony; the decision will be up to prosecutors.

The laser used on the ferry captains was not the same kind of device used as a pointer in business presentations. It weighed about 2 pounds and came with a manufacturer’s warning that it could start fires.

The ferry system “remains concerned about laser strikes,” spokesman Ian Sterling said. “They have the potential to hurt people and lasers should not be considered toys.”

Rikki King: 425-339-3449;

Talk to us

More in Local News

Top (L-R): Louis Harris, Peter Zieve, Kevin Stoltz. Bottom (L-R): Tom Jordal, Steve Schmalz, Alex Crocco.
Race for Mukilteo City Council is a mix of old and new names

Housing, waterfront and public safety top the list of concerns for candidates.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, front, talks to reporters in Olympia, Wash., Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, as Secretary of Health Umair Shah looks on. Inslee announced that starting Nov. 15, people in the state will need to either provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test in order to attend large events. (AP Photo/ Rachel La Corte)
With vaccine deadline here, some fired in Snohomish County

Some workers sought an injunction against Gov. Inslee’s mandate. That effort fell flat Monday, the deadline to get vaccinated.

In this May 2020 photo, garbage cans line a residential street on trash pickup day in Mukilteo. In November, voters will weigh in on whether the city should encourage more high density housing. (Sue Misao / Herald file)
Mukilteo asks for input on housing density, and it’s complicated

Here’s a guide to what voters should know about the advisory ballot measure. What does it actually do?

Community Transit is preparing to shift commuter buses that go to the University of Washington in Seattle to connect with Link light rail in Northgate next year. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Union: Community Transit vaccine mandate puts jobs in ‘jeopardy’

Meanwhile, at King County Metro, a similar mandate has significantly boosted vaccination rates.

Police: Man showed up to ex-wife’s Everett home, stabbed ex-roommate

The suspect, 47, of Seattle, was booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of first-degree assault.

Lake Stevens worker’s protection order granted against boss

The worker and his boss, Public Works Director Eric Durpos, were put on leave for an incident at a grievance meeting.

Top row: Vanessa Edwards (left) and Ray Sheldon Jr. Bottom row (from left): Connor Krebbs, Wade Rinehardt and Katie Jackson. (Not pictured: Sherry Weersing)
After year of tumult, new faces vie for Marysville School Board

One candidate is concerned about “Critical Race Theory.” Others see more pressing issues.

2 years later, charges filed in ‘unusual’ deadly crash in Everett

Dakotah Allett, 27, crashed into two vehicles on the side of I-5, leaving one woman dead, the new charges say.

Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste, center, greets a new trooper during a graduation ceremony, as Gov. Jay Inslee looks on in the Rotunda at the Capitol Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, in Olympia, Wash. The class of 31 troopers completed more than 1,000 hours of training and will now work for the WSP across the state. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Rather than get vaccine, nearly 2,000 state workers lose jobs

Ten troopers north of Seattle, 54 Monroe prison workers and hundreds more across the state refused the governor’s mandate.

Most Read