A Warren, Mich., man is in critical condition and four young teens face felonious assault charges after a sandbag tossed onto I-75 from the Indiana Street overpass crashed through a moving vehicle, Toledo police said.
Marquise Byrd was a front-seat passenger in a vehicle driven by an acquaintance when police say a sandbag struck the windshield, entered the vehicle, and hit Mr. Byrd. The incident occurred at roughly 10:10 p.m. Tuesday.
He was treated at the scene and transported to Mercy Health St. Vincent Medical Center for a head injury. He was in critical condition Wednesday, police said.
Pedro Salinas, 13; Sean Carter, 14; Demetrius Wimberly, 14; and William Parker, 14, are accused of throwing items from the overpass onto I-75 when Mr. Byrd was struck, according to a TPD news release. Each faces a charge of felonious assault, a second-degree felony, and was booked in the Lucas County Juvenile Detention Center.
Lori Olender, deputy prosecutor of the juvenile division, said she was told by police that Mr. Byrd could die from his injuries.
“If that would happen then the state would be bringing forward some sort of homicide charge against all four who were involved,” she said.
She added there is the potential for additional charges, including vandalism, against the boys.
The driver of Mr. Byrd’s vehicle has not been identified. More than one vehicle was struck by debris, but no other injuries were reported, Ms. Olender said.
The boys appeared for a detention hearing Wednesday before Magistrate Hutcheson in Lucas County Juvenile Court. They each entered a denial to their charge. Based on the seriousness of the offense, they will remain in the detention center, said Lucas County Juvenile Court Magistrate William Hutcheson.
Ms. Olender recognized the ages of the boys and said two of them did not have a prior criminal record, but still recommended each of them be held at the detention center.
“This is a case where the state has very strong evidence, there were statements made by all of the juveniles involved in this case,” she said.
The teens will appear before Lucas County Juvenile Court Judge Denise Navarre Cubbon Dec. 29.
While most bridges over freeways normally have high fences to prevent anyone from throwing or dropping objects on traffic, the Indiana Avenue bridge is currently being rebuilt, so some of its normal fences are missing.
A vandal fence will be in place when work is complete, said Rebecca Dangelo, an Ohio Department of Transportation spokesman.
These fences are at least six feet tall and are placed over major routes. They help reduce the danger posed by objects falling from — or being thrown from — overpasses.
“When you're traveling that quickly, it doesn’t need to be a heavy object to do damage or cause harm,” Ms. Dangelo said.
Contractors remove tools every night from the site, but sandbags remain to weigh down items like signs, she said.
Police dispatch records show at least one lane remained closed until about 1:12 a.m.
It’s not the first time in recent years local authorities have responded to such an incident.
A Perrysburg woman was driving Sept. 16 near University Hills Boulevard and North Douglas Road when someone threw a rock. It shattered her front passenger window, and broken glass cut her face.
More than 10 years ago, a woman was killed when a 24-pound steel plate was dropped onto her windshield from a railroad bridge over South Ravine Parkway. Dorothy Minggia died in the Oct. 14, 2004 incident, but none of three young men arrested in connection with it was convicted of any crime.
Anyone with information related to Tuesday’s incident should contact the Crime Stopper program.
Blade staff writers Ryan Dunn and David Patch contributed to this report.
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