As cases mount, Austin police gives tips to avoid rock throwers

Lexus damaged by a rock thrown from Ih-35 on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015 at 12:24 a.m. (APD)
Lexus damaged by a rock thrown from Ih-35 on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015 at 12:24 a.m. (APD)

THERE IS AN UPDATE TO THIS STORY: Read the latest here


AUSTIN (KXAN) — The city of Austin’s Public Safety Commission decided to postpone their discussion of recent rock throwing cases until Austin police meet with transportation experts.

Asst. Police Chief Chris McIlvain told commissioners they will be meeting with the city transportation department and the Texas Department of Transportation on Tuesday, Feb. 9. They will discuss viable options to keep people from being able to carry out the crimes.

Nearly 60 drivers have had rocks damage and go through their car windshields while driving along Interstate 35, and some have been seriously injured.

MORE: Ideas to stop I-35 rock throwers considered after meeting

“The fact that there hasn’t been a death — I think we are just lucky at this point,” said Asst. Chief McIlvain. “This kind of a crime, it’s extremely serious and we take it as serious as someone trying to kill somebody.”

When police started investigating the crimes, they thought the rocks were being thrown off overpasses. Now police believe the rocks are being thrown from moving cars on the opposite side of the highway.

“What I would do is drive on the outside lanes,” said McIlvain. “If a rock was coming over you have a little bit further distance, and then the accuracy might be off.”

If you are hit, police say it is vital to the investigation that you pull over immediately and call 911. That way they can try to track down the driver.

MORE: Reward now being offered in I-35 rock throwing cases

Next Tuesday, Austin police, city transportation experts and the Texas Department of Transportation will be meeting to see what can be done design-wise.

Solutions could be costly because the cases are not confined to one spot. Early on, they were happening on the upper and lower decks of I-35, but now they span many miles along the interstate.

APD will be reporting back to the Austin Public Safety Commission. “These incidents draw attention to the design deficiencies in that section of 35,” said Ed Scruggs, a member of the Public Safety Commission.

Scruggs mentioned places like Minneapolis and cities in California that have added everything from landscaping in medians, to fences and other barriers making it nearly impossible to pull off a crime like this.

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