Suspected BB gun shatters car’s windshield on I-15

The windshield and front passenger window of a black Saturn Vue were shattered bya suspected BB as the driver began to merge onto Interstate 15 via the Exit 10 on-ramp, Washington County, Utah, Sept. 14, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Grant Hintze, St. George News

WASHINGTON CITY — A driver narrowly escaped injury after a projectile struck her windshield and front passenger window, shattering both while the woman was driving on Interstate 15 Wednesday afternoon. Authorities suspect the incident may have been caused by a BB that was shot from an area off the roadway.

At 3:18 p.m., a woman called 911 to report that, as she was merging onto northbound I-15 from the Exit 10 on-ramp, her windshield suddenly shattered, spraying glass all over her and the front inside area of her car, Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Grant Hintze said.

The woman then looked across her car and noticed the passenger window shattered, as well.

Upon arrival, officers found a black Saturn Vue on the side of the Interstate with the visibly shaken woman sitting inside, Hintze said.

Close-up photo of a passenger window that shattered as the driver of the vehicle entered northbound Interstate 15 via the Exit 10 on-ramp, Washington County, Utah, Sept. 14, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Grant Hintze, St. George News
Close-up photo of a passenger window that shattered as the driver of the vehicle entered northbound Interstate 15 via the Exit 10 on-ramp, Washington County, Utah, Sept. 14, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Grant Hintze, St. George News

The woman described hearing a loud noise the instant before the windshield shattered, similar to a gun being fired or possibly the thud of an object hitting something near her car, Hintze said.

At that point, the woman maintained control of her vehicle, the trooper said, and pulled to the right of the Interstate into the emergency lane where she stopped and immediately called 911.

During the call, the woman reported that she was shaken but uninjured.

As the preliminary investigation got underway, the trooper found glass fragments on the roadway in the area where the windshield reportedly shattered.

While inspecting the vehicle, Hintze found damage to the upper section of molding around the front passenger window that was consistent with some type of projectile, similar to a BB or pellet, striking the molding before it hit the window, he said. The object continued until it struck and shattered the windshield.

The woman told officers that she observed two boys standing near the chain-link fence that runs along the Interstate just before she entered the on-ramp, but wasn’t sure if they had anything to do with the incident.

Close-up photo of a passenger window that shattered as the driver of the vehicle entered northbound Interstate 15 via the Exit 10 on-ramp, Washington County, Utah, Sept. 14, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Grant Hintze, St. George News
Close-up photo of a passenger window that shattered as the driver of the vehicle entered northbound Interstate 15 via the Exit 10 on-ramp, Washington County, Utah, Sept. 14, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Grant Hintze, St. George News

However, she said she found it suspicious that they would be so close to the fence near the freeway just prior to the incident, but she was unable to provide any further details or descriptions, Hintze said.

In response, several troopers canvassed the area where the driver had witnessed the boys standing, but without a more detailed description or any other information, they were unable to locate the juveniles in question.

A projectile from a BB or pellet gun is suspected to be the cause in the incident, Hintze said, adding that those are preliminary findings, as the incident is still under investigation.

It does appear that the trajectory of the object originated from the south side of the Interstate, he said, being that it went through the passenger window before it struck the windshield.

The trooper took an accident report detailing the incident before releasing the vehicle back to the woman, who planned to take it to a facility for repairs.

“This isn’t the first incident ” Hintze said, “as a matter of fact, we took a similar report less than a year ago in the same area with similar circumstances.”

Authorities are also looking into whether there are other reports of similar incidences in that area, the trooper said, to determine if there is an ongoing issue of BB guns being fired in that area of I-15.

Hintze cautioned motorists to be as observant as possible and to report any suspicious activity or anything that appears out of the ordinary, particularly pedestrians who are standing or walking near the Interstate.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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12 Comments

  • RealMcCoy September 15, 2016 at 10:35 am

    Considering the amount of road debris on the highway due to all the road construction, it’s more likely to have been a rock. Why suspect a BB? Have you ever shot a BB gun? They pack the punch of a wasp, but not enough penetration power to shatter TWO tempered glass windows of a car.
    I’ve had more than my fair share of rocks and gravel whipped up at my cars while driving that stretch that’s under construction.
    Use some common sense- a BB might be able to chip or crack a window, but not shatter TWO windows, and certainly not tempered glass.
    Unless they’re going to start reporting it as a “high-powered military assault BB rifle”. If that’s the case, better ban them all.

    • Ron September 15, 2016 at 1:25 pm

      The RealMcCoy is right, you know. Now a .22 caliber CAN do that type of damage. But not a BB propelled by air.

    • .... September 16, 2016 at 1:55 am

      You know a Bazooka will take out a window to !

      • Ron September 16, 2016 at 8:44 am

        Dot, could have easily been an A10 Warthog as well. Just saying….

        • .... September 16, 2016 at 10:43 am

          A surface to air missile will take out a window to

          • RealMcCoy September 16, 2016 at 3:54 pm

            It was ISIS!

          • .... September 19, 2016 at 8:46 am

            A 400 ft meteor crashing into the earth at 200.000 mph will break a car window to

  • Bob September 15, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    A bb gun you say? If the car would’ve been blown completely in half he’d probly also have said “this is a simple case of a bb gun, case closed”. I say we promote this guy to top forensic expert of the state, or heck! maybe even the whole world!

    • Bob September 15, 2016 at 12:21 pm

      +that first photo has a handprint. Could be a clue?!

      • RealMcCoy September 16, 2016 at 3:57 pm

        If they are trying to say that crack in the car door is from a BB, then I want to order one of those super-charged-high-powered military assault BB rifle.
        Heck, with that kind of power unleashed, I want TWO!
        I wonder if they’re still sticking with that ‘magic BB’ theory…

        • .... September 16, 2016 at 10:26 pm

          Wow the letters LDS were never used in the article. now that’s impressive

  • .... September 15, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    Well this looks like a job for Sheriff anybody home of Mayberry and his side kick Deputy Bob Fife. !

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