First Posted: 1/15/2009
LUMBERTON - If it was a youthful prank, Greg Bounds wasn't smiling.
Bounds, assistant county EMS director, said one of his ambulances was transporting a patient early Thursday morning when it was hit by a rock tossed from a bridge onto Interstate 95.
Authorities say there were eight incidents of rock throwing late Wednesday and early Thursday.
No one was injured, but the rocks caused more than $4,000 in damage. No arrests have been made in the incidents.
“They're very lucky … A little prank like that could really cause somebody to get hurt,” police Capt. Clayton Oxendine said. “When something like that hits the windshield, it's a natural reaction to jerk the steering wheel. It could cause the person to lose control of their vehicle and they could hit someone else.”
There was a similar incident near Fayetteville on March 15, 1999, when two men threw rocks off an I-95 overpass. A 27-pound rock struck a Ford Explorer and then hit a Canadian teenager, Michael Vytlingam, in the face. He was left blind, partially paralyzed and with brain damage.
Bounds said the ambulance was struck about 1:15 a.m. Thursday while transporting a passenger to Southeastern Regional Medical Center. The driver, Heather Flanagan, heard something crash against the passenger side of the windshield as the vehicle crossed under the Exit 19 overpass. The object left a “baseball-sized” dent in the glass.
“It's sad,” Bounds said. “I've been here 18 years and we've never had anyone throw anything at an ambulance.”
The rock caused about $500 damage to the 2003 Ford ambulance.
Investigators believe the rocks were thrown by juveniles.
“… They were probably in a vehicle because it was spread out over two or three exits,” Detective Sgt. Don Ward said.
Rocks were tossed from overpasses at Exit 19, Exit 20, and Exit 22, from about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday night to about 1:30 a.m. Thursday, according to police reports.
The other incidents were:
– A rock caused about $500 damage to a 2001 BMW sport utility vehicle driven by 37-year-old John Delalcazar of Waldorf, Md.
– A rock caused about $600 damage to a 2004 tractor-trailer driven by 34-year-old Christopher Mixon of Florence, S.C.
– A rock caused about $700 damage to a 2004 Jeep Wrangler driven by 48-year-old Stephen Thayer of Fayetteville.
– A rock caused about $1,050 damage to a 1995 tractor-trailer driven by 30-year-old David Peedir of Southport.
– A rock caused about $800 damage to a 2006 tractor-trailer driven by 41-year-old Frank Fowlkes of Augusta, Ga.
– A rock caused about $250 damage to a 1998 Plymouth Breeze driven by 38-year-old Angela Rivers of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Lumberton.
– A rock caused about $400 damage to a 1995 Chevrolet Lumina driven by 35-year-old Myhajlo Marchuk of Taylorsville.
Staff writer Jonathan Yeomans contributed this article.