2 accused of pointing laser light at aircraft

Two men suspected of flashing a laser pointer at a commercial airplane and a Pima County Sheriff's Department aircraft were arrested this week.

Jack Downey, 23, and Daniel Pribula, 22, of Tucson, face charges of endangerment in the March 5 incident, said Deputy Renee Carlson, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Department.

"We got a report from a commercial airliner saying that they had been flashed with a green laser pointer," she said. "Our aircraft happened to be in the area and they tried to track down where it came from. Our aircraft got lit up with the green laser pointer several times."

The crew of the Sheriff's Department aircraft was able to pinpoint the spot where the laser was flashing and directed ground units to the location, Carlson said.

"Our guys are sometimes flying with night vision. If they flash our guy flying with night vision that amplifies the laser and it could knock out the vision of the pilot," she said. "It's got some pretty serious repercussions."

Kimberly Matas

Seat belt use lauded in 2 wrecks on I-10

Two freeway crashes Saturday involving women and children demonstrated that seat belts help reduce serious injuries, fire department representatives said.

The first crash occurred just before 7 a.m. when a woman driving a compact car eastbound on Interstate 10 near Kino Parkway, hit the guardrail and rolled off the shoulder of the road into the dirt, Capt. Jeff Langejans, spokes-man for the Tucson Fire Department, said in a news release.

A 13-year-old boy was found lying outside the car. The driver and her 16-year-old daughter were still in the car when TFD personnel arrived, Langejans said.

"There was significant damage to the vehicle, but because all passengers were wearing their seat belts they only sustained minor injuries," he said. The family was taken to a hospital for a medical assessment.

Just before 2 p.m., the another driver lost control of her vehicle and rolled on I-10 just west of the Marana exit.

"All occupants were restrained with appropriate seat belts or car seats based on age and weights of the children," Capt. Adam Goldberg, spokesman for Northwest Fire/Rescue District, said in an email. "This is significant and led to minor injuries for all involved."

The woman, in her 20s, and her three sons, ranging in age from 2 to 8 years old, were taken to a hospital for evaluation, Goldberg said.

Kimberly Matas

3 Douglas men held in alleged kidnap plot

Three Douglas men were arrested in connection with an alleged kidnapping plot.

Francisco Parra, 35, his brother Erik Parra, 33, and Gabriel Owen, 34, were each being held on a $500,000 cash bond, Cochise County sheriff's officials said.

They were booked on suspicion of aggravated robbery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, extortion, kidnapping for ransom, unlawful imprisonment and weapons charges.

A man told authorities he was looking at a house as a possible investment near Douglas with a friend Wednesday.

The man said that once inside the home, he and his friend were assaulted by two masked men but managed to flee.

The Parra brothers and Owens planned to kidnap the victims and demand more than $1 million ransom from their families, authorities say.

The Associated Press

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