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More drivers hit by rock throwers on Tucson roads

Posted at 9:31 PM, Feb 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-10 23:31:35-05

For the second time in just a few weeks, drivers have been hit by rocks while on Tucson highways. The first time, multiple drivers were struck on I-19 just near Drexel Road. This time, two drivers were hit by large rocks while driving eastbound on I-10 just near Valencia Road.

Dehk Kemper is one of those drivers. His windshield, shattered by a large rock thrown at his car.

"Hits right in front of my face. It just shatters the whole windshield," he said. "All of a sudden, I feel wind and all of this glass come flying in, covering all of me."

It happened around 8:30 p.m. on Monday night. At first, he didn't know what had hit him -- he thought maybe a bird? He saw something flying towards his car out of the corner of his eye, coming from just below the highway.

"It came in from that side, it hit right here," he said while pointing to his windshield. "Right in front of my face, and it broke, shattered right here. The rock, fortunately, I think the trajectory when it hit ricocheted off and went over this way."

Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesperson Quentin Mehr explained they do not take these situations lightly. They treat them as priority calls.

"It's a very high priority call, and we send all the available troopers that are not committed doing other investigations or on traffic stops," Mehr said. "There are some that would even clear their traffic stop to get to the scene."

If someone is caught throwing rocks at vehicles on the highway, Mehr said they can face a variety of charges -- criminal damage, assault, aggravated assault. If someone is killed from a result of a rock thrower, those can become even more serious. 

Kemper said he is doing alright and doesn't plan on avoiding the area, but explained it shook him up that night. He hopes people are caught soon before this becomes deadly.

"I was very fortunate," he said. "If it had gone through the windshield, who knows, I might be in the hospital or dead right now."

DPS explained these are difficult investigations, due to the nature of the crime. The department is urging for anyone with information to come forward and help out.