AUSTIN (KXAN) — Mandi Seiler said she was driving southbound on the MoPac service road at Waters Park Road Thursday when she saw a man walking toward her on the sidewalk.
“I didn’t think too much about it. Except he looked right at me,” Seiler said.
The next thing she knew, she saw the man throw a large rock her direction. She said it hit the hood of her car and then bounced up, hitting the windshield.
“It was startling,” Seiler said. “Thankfully I didn’t swerve.”
She was able to stay calm and keep driving. When she arrived at her destination, she called 911. A witness had called to report the incident, as well.
“It was targeted,” she said. “He targeted my vehicle.”
Police said they were unable to find the rock thrower, but that one of their district representative officers reported someone throwing rocks at MetroRail trains in the same area just a day earlier.
A representative for Capital Metro said they had no reports of the incident mentioned at that location or any reports of damage to trains.
Police also said there have not been any unusual amount of “rock-throwing” incidents reported in other areas around the city.
Seiler said the rock had to be at least 8-10 inches wide, and it caused about $1,900 in damage to her car.
She said it could have been much worse if she had swerved or hadn’t been paying attention.
“It’s sad that it happened,” Seiler said. “But I just hope the public is aware of their surroundings. Don’t be texting and driving, or putting on their makeup and driving, or whatever people do besides keeping it at ’10 and 2.’”
On this Valentine’s Day, she’s extending some love and forgiveness to the person who did this.
“I feel legitimately nothing towards him except empathy. You know, he’s clearly had some struggles in his life and that’s whats led him to make choices like that,” Seiler said. “All of us deserve second chances, third chances, and hopefully he gets caught so he can get into some programs and get the help he needs.”
Past rock-throwing cases
A stretch of I-35 in Central Austin became the site of nearly 100 rock throwing incidents between 2016 and 2017.
Pat Johnson was accused of some of the cases. He pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Three people were seriously hurt including one person who suffered severe head trauma. Johnson was sentenced to 40 years in prison.