SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The California Highway Patrol says the public is a lot safer after the arrest of a man suspected of throwing boulders off of highway overpasses onto the cars of unsuspecting drivers below.
CHP officers arrested 47-year-old Pedro Ruiz Espinoza on Christmas.
He’s suspected in at least seven incidents of throwing rocks off overpasses in the area of Florin Road, South Land Park Road, and Pocket Road over onto traffic on I-5 in south Sacramento.
A man who wants only to be identified as Mike, had a football-sized boulder crash through his windshield last Thursday evening as he was driving home from work on I-5 South.
“It sounded like a shotgun,” he said. “And the truck just filled with smoke. It turns out it was glass dust and sand because it settled everywhere.”
The boulder entering with enough force that it dented and bent back the passenger’s seat of his Dodge Ram pickup, just feet from Mike’s head.
“Anybody in the passenger seat could have been instantly killed,” he said.
Fortunately, Mike escaped unharmed.
CHP had been actively looking for the suspect, even deploying their helicopter and airplane to try and catch the rock thrower before someone was seriously injured. It was a tip from witnesses that provided the clue that broke the case.
“He had a very unique bike,” said CHP Officer Adrian Quintero.
An off-duty officer spotted the bike leading to Espinoza’s arrest.
“He had two prior convictions for the same thing through Sacramento Police Department, so that was a big concern for us. And if you look at the size of those boulders thankfully no one was killed” Quintero said.
As for Mike, still shaking from the incident, he says faith and prayer are what’s getting him through.
“To have peace knowing that anyone of us at any moment could pass away. You never know what the next moment holds” he said.
Mike credits safety glasses he was still wearing from work for saving his eyes from injury.
CHP Says Espinoza may be responsible for as many as seven incidents in the area.
They found rocks and his backpack during the arrest.
In one case CHP says a woman sustained significant injuries when a rock crashed through her windshield causing her to lose control of her car.