Local News

Truck Driver Escapes Injury After Rock Dropped From Wake County Bridge

Posted October 12, 1999

— Falling rocks can be dangerous, but when they are hurled onto highways, they can be deadly. A local truck driver watched a rock come smashing through his windshield early Wednesday morning in Wake County.

"You know, you see something coming at you, and there isn't a thing you can do about it," says truck driver Willard Daughtry.

Daughtry was driving his 18-wheeler on Highway 50, about to pass under the Highway 98 bridge, when something caught his eye.

"And I came up on the bridge and, you know, the glare of your lights, you can see something moving around on the bridge," he says.

It was about 3 a.m. when someone dropped a 15-pound rock over the side of the bridge, aimed directly at Daughtry's truck.

"It hit the hood of the truck right over the driver, right over the steering wheel, and it bounced up and hit the top of the cab. Then it landed on the ground and smashed the windshield," explains Daughtry.

If the timing had been any different, investigators say Daughtry may not have been so lucky. He walked away uninjured.

"To me it is tantamount to a bullet coming at you. You are going 55 miles an hour and [the rock] is coming at you. It would be about the same difference as a bullet coming at you," says Maj. Danny Bellamy of the Wake County Sheriff's Department.

The sheriff's department is taking this case very seriously. The person responsible will be charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.

"Throwing this rock off that bridge is the same thing as shooting someone. It is the potential to kill someone," says Bellamy.

Investigators are asking anyone who may have been near the Highway 98 bridge over Highway 50 between 3 and 4 a.m. Wednesday, to call the Wake County Sheriff's Department.

The latest incident is the third overpass attack in less than a year.

Just a few weeks ago on the Durham Freeway, six cars were hit by a rock-tossing vandal over a 45-minute period.

In February, someone tossed a 30-pound rock from an Interstate 95 overpass. The rock peeled an SUV open like a beer can. Eight months later, the driver, 18-year-oldMichael Vytlingamis still hospitalized.

There is a $13,000 reward to solve the crime. Reporter: Lynda Loveland


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