A father and his daughter travelling on a highway have cheated death by seconds after a chunk of concrete was hurled down at the vehicle they were travelling in from an overpass.
Darren Tupper was driving his daughter home from work along the Cunningham Highway near Ipswich, Queensland, around 9pm on 13 March 2022.
As the man travelled across the highway with his daughter sitting in the front passenger seat, a concrete block suddenly landed on the asphalt right in front of his Holden Commodore, believed to have been pelted off the Barclay Street Bridge.
Within seconds, it forcefully collided with the car’s front axle, before going underneath it, sending Mr Tupper’s vehicle airborne.
While the boulder narrowly missed smashing through the windscreen, it did still cause significant damage to Mr Tupper’s vehicle, leaving the father disconcerted and out of pocket by thousands of dollars.
“Absolute Idiots”: Mr Tupper’s Words of Warning to Those Who Threw Rock from Overpass
Mr Tupper spoke to the media following the frightening incident and explained that he had actually caught sight of the concrete block mid-air.
“What the f**k!”, Mr Tupper said he yelled in astonishment at the sight taking place before him.
The father said he watched the rock descend “in slow motion”, and in the moment, feared it would collide with his car.
“That is not what you want to see falling down in front of you doing 100km/h,” he said, labelling those responsible for the crime as “absolute idiots”.
“In a split second, you could have taken someone’s life,” the father added.
“Is it really worth it?”
The incident has since sparked fresh calls to introduce safety measures including lighting and fencing on bridges such as the Barclay Street Bridge to deter people from throwing rocks at vehicles.
Queensland Transport and Roads Minister Mark Bailey responded to the bids, saying he would look into the incident and commission a report into the safety barriers at the overpass.
“I’m shocked to hear of this incident,” Minister Bailey said.
“It’s brutal, it endangers people’s lives.”
He added that he would look further into the matter.
“I’m happy to look at the infrastructure itself where this incident has happened and to get a report,” he said.
A report of the incident was made to police, however charges have not been laid.
Police are still hunting for the culprit.
They have encouraged anyone with information to contact police.
Throwing rocks at vehicles is extremely dangerous and has the potential to cause drivers and their passengers significant wounds and even death.
Indeed, when a vehicle is travelling at high speeds on a road, a rock hurled from high above that makes contact can immediately cause the windshield or surrounding windows to violently shatter, and can thus cause serious injuries to those in the vehicle and others sharing the road.
Moreover, the shock of a suddenly smashed window can also lead the driver to lose control of their vehicle.
In turn, this can impact other road users, including pedestrians who may be in proximity.
It is a serious criminal offence to throw rocks and other objects at vehicles and vessels.
In fact, so serious is the wrongdoing that the penalties include jail time.
If you are in NSW, section 49A of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) makes clear that an offence takes place where a person intentionally throws an object at, or drops an object on or towards, a vehicle or vessel that is on any road, railway or navigable waters, and there is a person in the vehicle or vessel, thus risking the safety of that person.
This includes a vehicle or vessel that is stationary at the time that has an object thrown or dropped on it.
Any such offence attracts a maximum penalty of five years in jail – a consequence designed to reflect the high risk of danger that motorists are put in when a rock or object is thrusted onto them, especially from an overpass or highway.
It is worth noting that according to section 49A, in the prosecution of an offence, it is not necessary to prove that the accused was aware that their conduct risked the safety of any person or that the object made contact with the vehicle or vessel.
Additionally, a “vehicle” includes a motor vehicle, train or tram, bicycle, and vehicle drawn by an animal or an animal ridden by a person, while to “throw” includes to propel.
By Sahar Adatia.