ROT Rally poses new concern as rock-throwing incidents climb
Motorcycles are rolling into the Travis County Expo Center grounds as the Republic of Texas rally is now days away.
The annual event draws in a crowd of more than 200 thousand. Part of the attraction is riding around Austin.
"To ride is what we came for. Go see the city, go see the sights. Show off your bike,” said motorcycle owner Skip Neill.
But just as the rally is set to commence, rock-throwing incidents along IH-35 are inching closer to the 100 mark by the day.
Tuesday night, two drivers were struck as they crossed over Lady Bird Lake.
"Somebody's going to die. Somebody will die and I'm convinced this person is trying to kill somebody."
Chief Art Acevedo held a press conference Wednesday to issue a warning to the out-of-town motorcycle enthusiasts as well as locals.
"Avoid the fast lane during the hours of darkness,” said Acevedo. "Right now if you can avoid 35 and you have an option, take another option, there's nothing wrong with that."
Signs alerting drivers flash in and around the target area which has primarily been the upper-lower deck split.
Acevedo says soon officers will begin distributing flyers and stickers. They will hang signs at the expo center.
As far as finding who responsible, Acevedo is says he's placed the organized crime division--officers who specialize in narcotics, gang violence and guns--in charge. He's also enlisted the help of the FBI and surrounding agencies.
"What we've been doing hasn't worked and if it's not working we've got to shake things up and we've got to try a different approach and we are convinced we're going to catch you,” said Acevedo.
This is all new to Skip Neill who has traveled here from Comanche.
"How would you even see it coming at you? It would be impossible. Even in a car much less a bike,” said Neill.
We warned him and that's exactly what Acevedo is asking of you.
"Spread the word to your loved ones, educate your family, your friends, neighbors and visitors to the threat this person is imposing,” said Acevedo. "We will not rest until we catch that individual or individuals and we will get them."
APD has set up a tipline for rock-throwing incidents. Call 512-974-7999.