SEATTLE — The Washington State Patrol (WSP) arrested a person suspected of throwing rocks onto Interstate 90 in Seattle Tuesday afternoon.
A total of seven vehicles were struck by debris, according to WSP. One of the victims chased after the 41-year-old suspect and helped bring them into custody.
The incident happened on eastbound I-90 near Rainier Avenue around 4 p.m. Tuesday.
The incident resulted in the state announcing it would clear at least one homeless encampment by the end of the week.
There were two more incidents of debris being thrown into the roadway on I-90 near Rainier Avenue from Monday night to Tuesday morning.
WSP said that the first incident happened just before 8 p.m. on eastbound I-90 at Rainier Avenue when a person reported that there was someone throwing items into the roadway.
Then, at 3 a.m. on Tuesday, a Mercer Island Fire Department ambulance was struck by debris on I-90.
Paramedics were transporting a patient to Seattle for treatment when someone threw concrete debris at the ambulance from the side of the road. The driver took evasive action, swerving. The debris made minor contact with the vehicle's undercarriage.
The incidents come amid a rising trend of rocks and other debris being thrown at vehicles traveling on I-90 near Rainier Avenue.
On Sunday alone, four vehicles were hit by thrown debris near the I-90 and I-5 interchange.
Adrienne Crawford was in the passenger seat of her brother's car when a rock came smashing through the front windshield. She was hit in the head and ended-up in the hospital.
"I had glass in my eyes, in my mouth, in my shirt, literally everywhere. My brother was also cut a little bit and my friend who was in the back was cut," said Crawford.
She says she's now avoiding I-90 and looking to warn other drivers.
"It's terrifying. It's ludicrous that nothing's been done about this," said Crawford, "Something needs to change.. because everybody's in danger. Everybody that drives in Seattle is in danger."
On Wednesday last week, the Seattle Police Department and WSP arrested two men for throwing objects onto I-90. One of those men was traced back to a homeless encampment and was suffering a mental health crisis.
The latest numbers show that, since the beginning of 2021, WSP has responded to at least 208 reports of rocks or debris being thrown onto state highways.
Troopers said that they look to the public for help to find and arrest suspects in cases like these. They are also asking travelers to call 911 if they see any pedestrians on the highway even if they are not throwing rocks and debris so that troopers can make contact with them.
These incidents come amid a time of increasing crime on state highways as traffic returns to levels not seen since before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trooper Oliphant said last week after one driver was shot at on I-5 in Lynnwood that WSP seems to be getting more reports of aggressive driving and road rage incidents.