Police ID man behind I-35 traffic jam

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A car crash, a fire and a bomb threat forced the closure of I-35 in south Austin, Thursday morning.

The interstate was shut down in both directions for several hours between William Cannon and Slaughter Lane.

Thousands of drivers were stuck in traffic for hours as police, the fire department and the bomb squad responded to the scene.

It all started around 10 a.m. with a call police hear all too often.

“911 received a call referencing a car driving at a high rate of speed,” said Sgt. David Daniels with the Austin Police Department. 

“The caller then reported that the vehicle had just crashed,” he added.

Police said the car hit the median and stopped on the grass just north of Slaughter Lane.

“The vehicle was on fire,” Daniels said.

The Austin Fire Department and EMS were on the way, however, officers said the driver didn't stick around.

“The caller reported that the driver had exited the vehicle and began walking away from the scene,” said Daniels.

With help from the witness, police tracked down the driver in a construction zone and questioned him about the crash.

“He quickly stated that there was a bomb inside the car,” Daniels said.

That's when police shut down the already congested interstate and called in the bomb squad.

“There was one package that EOD deemed safe immediately. However, there was another package, which was a clear bottle with some liquid in it. Since our EOD team doesn’t specialize in that, we had to call our Chem team out, which is our lab team, and they came out to render that package safe,” said Daniels.

Officers did not locate any explosives.

The driver, later identified as 39-year-old Rodrigo Porras, was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries. He was charged with driving while intoxicated. Officers said Porras could face additional charges once the investigation is complete.

After the fire department put out the fire and police cleared the car the interstate was reopened in both directions. That happened around 2 p.m.