SEATTLE — Rachel Brophy said until a 5-foot iron rebar rod exploded through her windshield and plunged deep into her dashboard, causing her face to be cut by flying glass, her commute home from work — using the ramps from Interstate 90 to merge onto Northbound Interstate 5 — was just a forgettable part of her daily routine.
She could only tell a heavy object appeared to fall from the sky and slam right through her dashboard. “And then I saw the rebar drilled into my dashboard,” she said. “I couldn’t stop shaking.”
But Brophy soon found out that her experience was not unique. Seattle fire EMTs arrived, along with a state trooper, and told Brophy that what happened to her — while she drove beneath an overpass — had also happened to other drivers.
“The first thing they said when they showed up was, ‘Oh no, another one?”’ she said.
Brophy said first responders told her rocks, bricks and other objects had been thrown or dropped from the 12th Avenue South Bridge — which spans over the lanes which merge from I-90 to I-5, and vice versa — and those had hit cars and trucks.
“They said it happened not just recently but that day,” she said. “They had multiple reports in that exact same spot that day. If that had been maybe 3 or 4 inches higher, it would not have gone into my dashboard but rather would have gone into me.”
The Washington State Patrol has investigated and arrested people for dropping objects that struck passing cars below. According to Trooper Chris Johnson, the actions taken include the arrest of a woman on May 8. The woman was in such a profound state of mental crisis that the King County Jail would not allow her in. “She went to a crisis center,” he said. The person responsible for Brophy’s rebar attack, which happened May 13, was never found.
Steven Vlasic recently told KIRO 7 News someone in the span of a freeway targeted his car. “I was hunted, targeted, and shot at,” he said of the person who dropped a large rock from the overpass, which slammed through the grill of his car.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that they saw me coming. They timed the rock. They timed everything, and they missed me by 4 feet,” he said. The same week, Cal Ziegler told us the same thing happened to him.
“If I would have had a passenger, that would have been a kill shot,” he said of the rock that crashed through his windshield.
Washington State Department of Transportation representatives told KIRO 7 News this issue was new to them, and they would follow up with law enforcement partners.
But Brophy was told by the Washington State Patrol this is the first time someone dropped rebar on a car, and she believes a public safety threat like this should not be kept quiet.
“I’m not the first person this has happened to,” she said. “But I feel like rebar is just stepping up to another level, and when is it going to end? Is someone going to lose their life over this?”
Cox Media Group