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US: Multi-car crash due to laser being aimed at driver

A woman driving on Interstate 5 in Oregon was dazzled by a green laser beam aimed by the driver of another car. This led to a three-car crash causing body damage to the vehicles. There were no reported injuries due to the crash or the laser light.

The accident occurred at about 5:30 am on October 25 2016. Miranda Senters, 18, was driving her new car, bought one week prior, when the driver in front of her aimed a green laser beam over his shoulder towards her. Senters told KGW News “I just kept going back and forth a little bit, trying to keep out of the light.” The laser driver then went behind Senters’ car and aimed into the rear-view mirror: “…he’s shining it from the back of me into my eyes and I couldn’t see.”

Senters tried to get away but the other driver weaved in and out of lanes to keep up with her. While trying to avoid the light, Senters swerved to the shoulder and spun out. The other car crashed into her. A third driver hit a barrier when trying to avoid the stopped vehicles.

The laser car, an older Honda Civic, left the scene. In an Instagram post, state police asked the public to help them find the Civic.

laser car crash Oregon i-5 I5 Senter
State police photo showing Senters’ car with driver side damage, at the scene on Interstate 5.


Senters later told KPTV “He had a little laser and was trying to get it through my front window. I went blind because a green laser light — like my eyes still hurt from that, I can still see it…. I don’t understand how it’s a joke. It could have killed me.”

From KGW and KPTV. Thank you to George Palikaras for bringing this to our attention.

Note from LaserPointerSafety.com: This is the first well-documented case we’re aware of where a laser pointer aimed at a driver directly caused a crash. There was a fatal crash in 1998 which was partially blamed on a laser pointer, and an indirect reference to a three-car accident in 1999. There have also been a number of near-accidents and other car-related laser incidents which are listed here.

US: Oregon man aims laser-sighted gun at deputy

Michael Coats, 48, was arrested October 10 2011 after he lased a sheriff’s deputy with the red dot from a laser-sighted .45 semi-automatic pistol. Coats said he aimed the laser and gun because the lights from the patrol vehicle were disturbing him. He was charged with menacing, reckless endangerment, unlawful use of a firearm, and pointing a weapon. The incident happened in Jefferson, Marion County, Oregon.

Pic 2011-10-23 at 12.23.13 PM
Michael Coats

From KVAL.com

US: 3 years in prison for injuring deputy

An Oregon man, Anton Strom, 24, was sentenced to three years in prison for causing permanent retinal scarring of a sheriff’s deputy’s left eye on July 17 2010. Strom aimed a “powerful, industrial grade” green laser pointer 423 feet across a parking lot at Deputy Glenn Howard, who now has a stronger corrective lens prescription in his left eye, and “his doctor said his vision may deteriorate further.”

Strom was charged with two counts of second-degree assault and one count of unlawful use of a weapon. He pled guilty to one second-degree assault count, as part of a plea bargain reducing his sentence from the minimum six years, to three years.

Howard testified that during the incident he feared for his life since lasers are often used on weapons. He “pulled his duty weapon and prepared to return fire.”

From OregonLive.com. Thanks to Daniel Hewett of the FDA for bringing this to our attention.