SOLANO COUNTY (BCN) — The California Highway Patrol arrested a Vacaville man Wednesday on suspicion of shining a laser light at a CHP aircraft.
The alleged incident happened after the pilot of a Southwest Airlines commercial airplane was struck by a strong green laser as it landed at Sacramento International Airport earlier on Wednesday, CHP Officer David Harvey said.
When the Southwest Airlines pilot reported the incident to the Federal Aviation Administration, a Valley Division CHP aircraft went to look for the person with the laser, Harvey said.
The CHP aircraft pilot then reported being struck by a powerful green laser light around 9:25 p.m. in the vicinity of Fry and Clark roads in unincorporated Solano County east of Vacaville, Harvey said.
Solano County CHP patrol cars responded and the Valley Division CHP aircraft followed the suspect’s vehicle that eventually stopped at a dead-end road on Maine Prairie Road east of state Route 113 in unincorporated Solano County, Harvey said.
The CHP officers determined the driver, identified as David Charles Fanning, 40, of Vacaville, shined the green laser light at the CHP plane, and Fanning was arrested on suspicion of discharging a laser at an aircraft, a felony offense, Harvey said.
Fanning was booked in the Solano County Jail.
Shining a laser light at an aircraft can cause a temporary or permanent loss of a pilot’s vision leading to a loss of control of an aircraft, Harvey said.
California and federal authorities aggressively prosecute such offenses, Harvey said.