Five injured in 13 weekend rock throwing cases

I-35 rock throwing case the weekend of May 20-22, 2016. (Austin Police Department)
I-35 rock throwing case the weekend of May 20-22, 2016. (Austin Police Department)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin police say what appeared to be a handful of rock throwing cases along Interstate 35 over the weekend is now tallying up to be 13 new cases. Five people from various vehicles were injured in the cases. Two people were sent to the hospital on Saturday. A person on Sunday refused treatment after a rock shattered a windshield and sent glass flying into the driver’s eyes.

The first report from this weekend came in on Friday, May 20 around 9:44 p.m. Three additional cases were reported on Saturday between 10 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. The bulk of the recent attacks happened on Sunday: five of which happened during the early morning hours and five between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. All except two of the weekend cases happened while drivers were going northbound on I-35. While most of the cases were along the stretch of the lower and upper deck of I-35, the cases spanned from Slaughter Lane all the way up to Rundberg Lane.

“Next thing I know I’m switching lanes and I see it coming and you know half an inch lower it would’ve hit my windshield and then it would’ve been bad,” says Tony Rysdyke who was driving northbound on I-35 near Onion Creek.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo says it’s only a matter of time before someone is killed.

As of last since, the Austin Police Department said since June 2014 they have investigated 70 rock-throwing cases. Police said in February, they believe the rocks are being thrown from cars on I-35. Initially, they said the rocks were most likely being thrown from the I-35 overpasses.

“Somebody out there knows something and before somebody dies, they need to come forward they have a moral obligation to do so and I hope they’re come forward,” Chief Acevedo says.

The department is also looking at new technology that could help.

“We just have the license plate readers we’re trying to get, we’re trying to leverage more cameras throughout the city, people think it’s big brother, no it’s not big brother, technology is a force multiplier,” Chief Acevedo says.

If you are a victim of a rock throwing case, police ask that you pull over safely and immediately call 911. If the rock is in your car, police ask that you do not handle it.

There is a $10,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction.

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