SEATTLE – A Redmond man who says he intended a prank when he yelled to a Metro bus driver that a bomb was aboard the vehicle was charged today with a felony of making threats to bomb.
The scare generated by 23-year-old Jared Brandon Jackson closed the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge for three hours at the height of the Monday evening commute.
The charge carries a penalty of three to nine months in jail. Prosecutors say they will seek jail time if Jackson is convicted.
At a news conference, Prosecutor Norm Maleng said Jackson’s prank crossed the line.
“The fear it generated was very real and anyone on board that bus or driving across the 520 bridge would not see this as a laughing matter,” Maleng said.
Under state law, it is no defense that a bomb threat was a hoax, he said.
Arraignment was scheduled for next Tuesday.
Jackson, who turned himself in to the Washington State Patrol on Tuesday morning, was being held at the King County Jail on $25,000 bail.
He is accused of standing up in the bed of an eastbound pickup truck, waving his arms at the bus driver and yelling several times that there was a bomb on the bus.
The truck’s driver and other passengers are not considered suspects.
The bus driver stopped his bus at an old toll plaza area near the east end of the bridge and evacuated all 30-35 passengers. The driver also noted the license number of the pickup.
The bridge was closed for three hours and traffic rerouted while a police bomb squad determined there was no explosive on the bus.
Trooper Scott Powers, who took Jackson to jail after his surrender, said the young man was “very solemn. He also apologized two or three times, saying he didn’t realize the seriousness of what he had done.”
The bridge is one of two across Lake Washington, linking Seattle and its eastern suburbs.
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