Rock thrower targets freeway drivers

The Washington State Patrol is seeking to arrest whoever is responsible for throwing rocks on Interstate 5 near South 272nd Street in Federal Way.

The rocks, some as large as basketballs, were thrown from the west shoulder of the freeway onto the southbound lanes at about 2:15 a.m. Wednesday. Three vehicles were damaged and one man was injured when a rock shattered the windshield of his semi truck.

The truck driver suffered cuts on his face and glass in his eye from the shattered windshield. He was treated at the scene by South King Fire and Rescue, but was not admitted to a hospital. The rock barely missed the driver and landed next to him in the cab of the truck, reports said.

“This would have definitely caused a death today if the rock would have gone a couple inches either way,” said state patrol trooper Cliff Pratt.

A Ford Explorer was damaged so severely it had to be towed from the scene. An Acura was damaged on its side.

“This is not just kind of a random prank. This is a very serious, very deadly thing we’re dealing with,” Pratt said. “Somebody who really wanted to cause an accident or cause a death.”

Investigators don’t have any information about the suspect except that it was at least one man, Pratt said. A witness saw the man throw rocks and then run into the trees. Pratt said crime was likely random.

“Most of the time we see this type of stuff, it’s just kids doing stupid things,” he said, adding that Wednesday’s incident was more severe than the typical report of juveniles causing mischief.

In the past 10 years, Pratt said he’s aware of at least two people dying on Washington roadways after their vehicle was struck by rocks. The charges for throwing rocks onto a roadway could range from malicious mischief to manslaughter.

Anyone with knowledge about the rock throwing is asked to call the Washington State Patrol at (425) 649-4370.

Contact Margo Horner:

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