Upstate N.Y. man charged with shining spotlight at plane

Feb. 15, 2014 at 12:28 AM
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MASSENA, N.Y., Feb. 15 (UPI) -- An upstate New York man is accused of shining a powerful spotlight into the cabin of a small plane as it landed, authorities say.

State police said Michael D. Euto, 49, of Massena was jailed on six counts of second-degree reckless endangerment, the Daily Courier-Observer of Massena/Potsdam reported.

Euto allegedly shined an 18 million-candlepower spotlight into the Cessna 402's cockpit Wednesday night. The plane, which was carrying a pilot, co-pilot and four passengers, landed safely.

The newspaper said Euto allegedly told troopers he initially didn't realize he was shining his spotlight on an aircraft when he pointed it in the direction of lights he saw above the trees. He allegedly said he felt like a "fool" and was sorry for "endangering the lives of the people on the plane."

Euto said he didn't hear the plane's engines.

"The thing was I didn't hear noise. You would think I would have heard noise," he allegedly told troopers. "I just saw lights just barely above the trees. Without thinking, I grabbed the spot light and shined in on the lights. Then after shining the spotlight on the lights, my nephew shouted, 'It's a plane.' I said, 'Oh ... and shut the light off."

He added he had even counseled his son earlier in the day about the danger of shining lasers at planes.

"That is the God's honest truth. It happened so quick I should have known. I feel like a ... fool for not only going against what I told my son, but endangering the lives of the people on the plane. I am sorry," he added in his statement.

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