ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - 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.