AUSTIN (KXAN) — Tuesday a new effort begins to stop the person(s) who is throwing rocks at cars along Interstate 35. Austin police met with the Texas Department of Transportation and the city’s transportation department to come up with possible preventative measures.
That’s because Austin police initially thought they had a solution a few months ago by installing cameras along some of the overpasses on I-35. That’s when they thought someone was standing on the overpass throwing rocks at cars below. Now police have determined those rocks are coming from someone driving the opposite direction on the interstate – making it extremely difficult to catch them.
During the meeting, the agencies also brainstormed ideas that includes technology, signage and infrastructure recommendations.
Since June 2014 there have been a total of 54 rock throwing cases. So far, no one has died but some have suffered serious injuries and police believe it’s only a matter of time before someone is killed. They even describe it as a random, scary crime. Police are telling the public if you are hit by a rock pull over immediately and call 911.
“Even if there is a delay in the officer getting there by 10 or 15 minutes it is critical for us to get there and get that information immediately and hopefully gather some evidence and hopefully maybe track down some cars that were going in that pack the other direction and maybe see if we can get some identifying information,” said Asst. Chief Chris McLlvain, Austin Police Department
Police said several drivers have waited until they have arrived home or to their destination before calling police.
In an effort to keep drivers safe, police recommend staying on the outside lane of traffic during the overnight hours when most of the rock throwing incidents have occurred. That way the vehicle is further away from opposing traffic.
On Friday, Feb. 5, a driver told police that he saw a large rock falling down onto I-35 northbound near the 290 flyover at around 2:00 p.m. The rock didn’t hit any vehicles. Detectives will determine if it was an actual “rock throwing.”