Uber driver and WilCo EMS victims of weekend rock-throwings on I-35

Rock-throwing incidents continue to be a major issue on I-35. Austin Police say they're investigating two new cases.

A Williamson County EMS Ambulance was hit a little after 1 Sunday morning on I-35 near Yager Lane. WilCo says the vehicle is still being driven. APD responded and says there were no injuries. About 40 minutes after the ambulance was hit, another incident took place further south.

In that case, if the rock had landed just a few inches to the left, a father of three could have been among the injured or worse.

"You could have killed my husband.  You could have taken my children's' father away," said Danielle Strickland.

Strickland gets emotional when she thinks about what could have happened to her husband Sean Guerrero this weekend.

Guerrero drives for Uber as a side gig. Sunday morning around 2, he picked up a couple of passengers and drove southbound on I-35.  When he got to the Riverside overpass, something happened.

"I didn't know where it came from or what happened initially.  It just kind of looked like something maybe hit underneath the car, I just saw white dust," Guerrero said.

He says it was actually a softball-sized rock -- and it broke through his windshield.  First hitting the front passengers seat before bouncing into the backseat hitting one of his passengers in the chest.

Guerrero pulled over and called Austin Police. His passenger told him he was okay.

"I asked him if he wanted me to drive him to a medical facility, he said 'no'" Guerrero said.

Sean says the rock was a pretty good-sized rock and the police officer told him it was one of the larger ones they've seen and that they were hoping they could pull some DNA from it.

Sean and Danielle spent Monday morning at the Uber support office in East Austin trying to get some help paying for the damaged windshield from a company he believes is trying to make transportation easier.

"The best way to do that I think is to take care of the people that are supporting your cause and that...not only includes the people that can utilize it but also the people that are driving for you," Guerrero said.

Danielle responded to the incident by posting an open letter to the rock-throwers on Facebook.

She says if this were just a bunch of kids, they would have stopped doing this long before now.

"In their heads, they go, you know a whole bunch of teenage boys are like 'Oh my God...we're terrible, we could never do this again.'  These people have done it over 50 times.  Their goal is to cause fear and to hurt people.  They know what they're doing," Strickland said.

But aside from the anger, Sean and Danielle are grateful this story didn't have a different ending.

"I have three small children and you know the first thing I thought about is if this would have just been over a foot to the drivers side, how the circumstances could have definitely changed," Guerrero said.

"You could have changed my life in a way that I could never have fixed it.  My kids could have woken up that morning and I could have told them 'Daddy is never coming home.'  If for some reason you don't think you know what you're doing...you're hurting people," Strickland said.

APD is reminding everyone, if this happens to you, pull over as soon as you can safely do so and call 911.  Do not wait until you're home or until the next day to report the crime.

 

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