City council member says baseball-sized rock thrown from bridge on I-35

Austin

TEMPLE, Texas (KXAN) — Thrown rocks.

That’s what drivers are reporting in a highly traveled route between Dallas and Austin. There’s real danger in this potential hazard that has windshield’s smashed and lives lost.

“There’s glass all on the inside of the car on my passenger seat,” said Deborah Jones, a Bastrop City Council member. “Luckily, on my side, I didn’t get any glass in my face.”

Jones considers herself lucky. Her car? Not so much.

“You can just see how much damage it did,” Jones said.

Jones said she saw a rock, about the size of a baseball, falling from an overpass and onto Interstate 35 in Temple.

“I could see something coming off the bridge in front of me and before I realized what it was, it was right in my windshield.”

The Temple Police Department wasn’t able to track down the falling debris. Jones said this accident is strikingly similar to another story she’s heard.

“As soon as it hit my windshild, I thought of a story I heard a couple of weeks ago of someone driving through Temple and getting killed by a rock going through the windshield.”

Just last month, a young woman was killed when someone threw a rock onto I-35 and hit the car she was in. The suspect responsible for her death still hasn’t be caught.

Jones is using her experience to warn the police and prepare other unsuspecting drivers riding through the area.

“Hopefully they catch whoever did this,” Jones said. 

Jones says the rock that hit her car came from an overpass just Southwest of Temple. Police are still investigating the rock that was thrown off of exit 305 in North Temple which killed that young woman. The two locations are about 10 miles apart.

Three years ago, Austin Police faced their own investigation into rock-throwing attacks.

APD said it handled just under 100 rock-throwing reports between June 2014 and August 2016. Many of them happened on the lower deck of I-35 between Manor Road and Airport Boulevard.

Police ultimately connected the lion’s share of cases to Pat Johnson. They say he would often call 911 and show up at the scene after someone was hit with a rock. He is now serving decades in prison for the attacks.

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