Rock throwing incidents from overpasses surging



Posted on September 2, 2010 at 12:31 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 2 at 12:56 PM

SPANAWAY, Wash. -- The Washington State Patrol is issuing an alert for drivers to be careful under overpasses. They're investigating a recent surge in rock throwing incidents.
So far, there've been six in Pierce County alone last night, three in Lakewood, and three in Tacoma.

Joanna Bailey was on her way home in Tacoma when out of nowhere a rock hit her car.

"I heard a big crunch and my windshield was gone," she said.

Someone threw a heavy object from an above overpass on 38th Street. Her windshield nearly caved.

"I cried the whole way home pretty much in shock," said Joanna. "I had it in my mouth. I had it everywhere." 

A few minutes later another car was hit in the same spot. Luckily there were no major injuries.

Joanna has a few cuts and bruises and is very shaken

"I didn't sleep very well last night. I got lucky - extremely lucky," said Joanna.

But that wasn't the case for 23-year-old mother of two, Alicia Thomas, who died in a rock throwing incident in Rockingham, North Carolina, back in April. Two teens face murder charges.

"We're not talking about some little prank," said Washington State Trooper Brandy Kessler. Kessler says rock throwing has been a huge problem recently in Washington and other states and it's no joke.

"It's very serious and very dangerous. It can cause a fatality collision on the freeway. A young person doesn't want to live with this for the rest of their life," she said.

Kessler has planned to visit area high schools in Washington to educate teens about the dangers of rock throwing. Joanna hopes the message is heard loud and clear.

Trooper Kessler says that almost all of these episodes involve teenagers. Authorities are urging you if you see anyone suspicious on overpasses to call 9-1-1 immediately.

In the last two months in Pierce County alone, Washington state troopers have responded to 25 rock throwing episodes.