AUSTIN, Texas — Just a few years ago residents in Austin were dealing with someone throwing rocks through windshields and at cars as they drove Interstate 35.
Travis Timms was driving with his friends in May 2016, when a rock struck his car while he was driving in the left lane.
"I just heard a big old bang like a gunshot went off," he told KCEN's sister station, KVUE, at the time. "They're aiming to kill with these rocks. Whether it's him or someone else, they're aiming for the driver and they're not throwing small rocks."
Ashley Goudeau, an anchor and reporter at KVUE in Austin said there was not a lot of initial concern because the rock throwing was sporadic to begin with, but as the incidences picked up and the methodology changed, people took notice.
"As they started to happen more and more, and the methodology changed. How he was doing it changed," she said. "It started, perhaps, on overpasses, but then it evolved to moving cars and literally throwing them from one side of the freeway from a moving car to the other side."
Goudeau said Pat Johnson, the man who confessed to the attacks, was well known to television journalists and was a part of many City Council meetings.
She said the case was broken open with an e-mail from a University of Texas police chief to his officers to make them aware of the rock throwing incidences.
That e-mail reminded one of the officers of when the same scenario had happened to him.
"You know, I think this is something that happened to me," Goudeau said. "He pulled up the dash cam video and sure enough, what looks like a snowball coming toward his car because it just hit the top of his car and not the windshield."
That dash cam footage was the break the case needed.
"In the video from his dash cam he was able to get the license plate," Goudeau said.
As a grief-stricken family prepared to bury its loved one, and the Temple Police Department continues to follow leads into the case, Goudeau reminded drivers to stay alert.
"Keeping your eyes open and being aware while you're driving," Goudeau said. "I can't stress the importance of making sure you're not distracted."
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