Homeless Encampments Cleared After Rock Throwing Incidents on Freeway
Police had found persons living along I-90 and I-5 in Seattle were connected to multiple incidents of rocks and other debris (such as chunks of loose concrete) being thrown onto moving vehicles driving on the freeways.
The Washington State Department of Transportation said in a statement, “The debris and rock-throwing in proximity to specific encampments off of I-90 and I-5 is a public safety threat that we take very seriously and must be addressed immediately.”
After more than 200 rock throwing incidents along I-90, WSDOT and Troopers will be clearing 2 large homeless encampments along the highway today. pic.twitter.com/xfiEMzUCUT
— John Hopperstad (@JohnHopperstad) July 22, 2021
The City of Seattle is assisting with clearing after the Washington State Patrol determined that the offenders were living at the Benvenuto Viewpoint encampment and well as another location close to the westbound I-90 off-ramp at Rainier Avenue.
Due to the safety risk, police determined that the two encampments “must be removed.” Generally it takes 72-hours’ notice to start the clearing process, but the city was set to start on Thursday following another incident (out of a total of seven of the most recent incidents) occurring at 4:00 pm on Tuesday.
Police were led to the encampments by two drivers whose vehicles were struck. The drivers followed the suspects to the encampments and one of the drivers pointed out the suspect to the police, who arrested the 41-year-old homeless man.
Last week, two other men residing in the camps were arrested by police for similar crimes.
King5 spoke with Adrienne Crawford, who was a passenger of a victim vehicle. She was in her brother’s car and a rock smashed through the front windshield while they were driving on I-90.
Crawford was hit in the head and had to be taken to the hospital. She said, “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.
“It’s terrifying. It’s ludicrous that nothing’s been done about this. Something needs to change.. because everybody’s in danger. Everybody that drives in Seattle is in danger.”
An ambulance was also struck by a rock while transporting an injured person. Luckily, the incident occurred at 3:00 am with few vehicles on the road, so the driver was able to swerve without hitting another car and minimal damage was done.
These incidents make a total of 208 similar in King County this year alone.
Following the clearing, the state will “modify” the sites to discourage residency.
This piece was written by Leah Anaya on July 22, 2021. It originally appeared in ThinBlueLineTV.com and is used by permission.
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