When the rock hit the passenger side of OOIDA Member Joseph Shelton’s 2013 International ProStar, it broke into about three to four pieces and put dents in the door and the sleeper, and even took off some of the paint.
Shelton, an owner-operator from Axton, Va., said he was northbound on I-25 outside of Colorado Springs on July 18 when “a rock the size of a softball” came flying from the side of the road and struck the passenger side of his cab.
“I caught it coming out of the corner of my eye and swerved a little bit,” he said. “It hit the post between the door and the windshield. … I had not even 60,000 miles on my truck at that point.”
Shelton said he immediately pulled his rig over to the side of the road, jumped out of the cab, and went looking for whoever threw the rock. Running parallel but below the highway is an old railroad line that has been converted to a hiking and biking trail. He instructed his driver trainee to remain in the cab and call 911.
While he managed to capture some of the incident with his dashcam, Shelton said the two suspects were much more elusive.
“They hopped on bikes and took off,” he said.“There was no way I could get down to the trail and follow them. There was too big of a drop-off there.”
After filling out a police report, Shelton got back in the cab and proceeded to the drop yard in Denver. When he got there, he said the shaken trainee quit on the spot.
“He said he couldn’t handle it,” Shelton said. “I don’t blame him, not one bit. Just getting out of school, being out in the truck, and having something like that happen. I ain’t gonna lie to you; it scared the crap out of me.”
Although no arrests were made that day, the attack on Shelton’s rig was just one of a string of incidents involving vehicles of all kinds being pelted with projectiles. Authorities would eventually arrest David J. Husman, 42, of Colorado Springs. A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for Oct. 10 in the Fourth Judicial Circuit Court of Colorado.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed in the case, Husman is accused of taking a juvenile male out on multiple raids to throw rocks and other projectiles at passing vehicles. Husman remains in custody in El Paso County.
The affidavit states the aggregate damage to all vehicles reported thus far is approximately $6,602.
The report, which includes portions of an interview between El Paso County sheriff’s deputies and the unidentified juvenile, states that the minor and Husman had gone out “probably 100 times” within the last year to throw objects at passing vehicles. Those objects reportedly included rocks, dirt, bottles and, in one instance, a piece of metal rebar. The affidavit also states that the juvenile told police Husman purportedly instructed him “to throw rocks at semi-trucks and concrete trucks, because they cannot stop easily,” giving the duo time to escape. The affidavit also alleges that the juvenile was encouraged to throw rocks at cars traveling behind dump trucks, because “the driver of the car will just think the rock came from the dump truck.”
Husman faces a total of 18 felony and misdemeanor charges, including:
- One felony count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor;
- Two felony counts of criminal mischief;
- One misdemeanor count of third-degree assault;
- Five misdemeanor counts of criminal mischief;
- Seven misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment; and
- One count of throwing missiles at vehicles.
The contributing to the delinquency of a minor charge covers a timeframe of April 11 to July 18, in which Husman “unlawfully and feloniously induced, aided, or encouraged” a minor child to violate a state law, specifically the throwing of missiles at vehicles charge.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed in El Paso County District Court, Husman is a suspect in at least nine separate incidents of rocks or projectiles being thrown at motor vehicles in an area of Hartford St. and Academy Blvd., as well as along I-25 between mile markers 132 and 135. Among the incidents:
- April 11 – officers take a report from Rocky Mountain Pre-Mix, alleging four of its company trucks were struck with rocks. One of the drivers, 53-year-old Leopoldo Montoya, was injured by broken glass.
- April 11 and 12 – A dispatcher from the Colorado Springs Transit Management files a report that one of the city buses was damaged in the area of Academy Blvd. and Hartford St. Bus driver George Borja was injured when broken glass struck his face.
- June 15 – Police take a report from Ramon Galen-Pena who said someone threw a rock onto the roof of his car from an overpass spanning northbound I-25.
- June 30 – Victim James Altmix reports his motor home took severe damage to the windshield when a large rock was thrown in front of his vehicle. Altmix was in the far-right lane of northbound I-25 near the Academy Blvd. exit.
The affidavit states that authorities made contact on Aug. 15 with the juvenile in an unrelated case, but the boy offered up that both he and Husman had been previously questioned by law enforcement in the rock-throwing cases.
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