Laser Shined at Law Enforcement Plane: San Mateo Woman Pleads No Contest

A San Mateo woman pleaded no contest Tuesday to a charge of pointing a laser at an aircraft after she targeted a law enforcement plane flying over the city last year, according to prosecutors.

Doris Tao, 29, was arrested on July 18 after a narcotics task force plane flying at 3,000 feet over San Mateo was flashed repeatedly by a green laser over the course of 7 to 8 minutes, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office.

The laser struck the plane's co-pilot in the eye, causing him to see spots for a period of time, prosecutors said.

Police tracked the laser to the 700 block of Delaware Street in San Mateo, where they contacted Tao. Prosecutors said Tao admitted to using the laser, which was recovered by police, but said she thought she was pointing it at a star.

Tao pleaded no contest to felony discharge of a laser at an aircraft and the charge was immediately reduced to a misdemeanor under the terms of a plea agreement, prosecutors said. She is expected to serve a maximum of 90 days in jail and her case has been referred for possible admission to the Pathways mental health program.

Tao, who is out of jail on a $10,000 bail bond, was ordered to return to court on June 12 for consideration for Pathways and to set a sentencing date.

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