St. Pete assistant chief temporarily blinded by laser

- Officers in St. Pete have arrested a man they say temporarily blinded the assistant chief of police with a laser pointer.

Assistant Chief Jim Previtera was driving an unmarked police vehicle northbound on the 5600 block of 4th Street N when a bright blue flash blinded him.  Police say the flash came from a parked vehicle nearby.

Previtera and other patrol units made contact with the driver of that car and determined he had pointed a laser at Previtera's vehicle.

David Smith, 42, was arrested and charged with misuse of a laser lighting device, a third-degree felony.

"Later at the St. Petersburg Police Department, to demonstrate the power of the seized device, the laser was pointed at a paper bag and it started the paper bag on fire," a police press release stated.

Officers say Previtera's vision was impaired for approximately 30 minutes after the incident.

Up Next:


Up Next

  • St. Pete assistant chief temporarily blinded by laser
  • Withlacoochee expected to crest Wednesday
  • Neo-Nazi takes plea deal on explosives charges
  • Polk to use early release days as hurricane make-up days
  • Puerto Ricans on the mainland watch, wait after Maria devastates U.S. territory
  • Polk rejects plan to light road where teen was killed
  • After Dunedin school serves as shelter, 80 books missing from classroom
  • Time drags for those waiting for news from Puerto Rico
  • AMBER ALERT: 4 children missing from Manatee Co.
  • Wisconsin logger helps clear debris after Irma