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Archive for Wednesday, May 11, 1994

TURNPIKE OFFERING REWARD

May 11, 1994

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— The Kansas Turnpike Authority has offered a reward for information that leads to the arrest of those responsible for throwing rocks from bridges and overpasses onto vehicles on the turnpike between Topeka and Lawrence last Saturday.

Rod Fogo, the KTA's chief engineer-manager, said Tuesday that the authority would pay up to $2,000, and the information would be accepted anonymously if the caller preferred.

Rocks and pieces of concrete were thrown onto vehicles passing under six bridges and overpasses between turnpike mileposts 190 and 194.6. The incidents occurred between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. last Saturday.

Six incidents were reported in Douglas County between mile posts 190 and 195, seven to 12 miles west of Lawrence, said KTA Maj. Dennis Tangeman. He said he wasn't sure exactly where the incidents occurred because officers have not yet interviewed everyone who made a report.

So far, the KTA has found no witnesses and gathered no information on the possible identity of those responsible, Fogo said. No arrests have been made.

``We take this very seriously,'' Fogo said. ``We are very fortunate we didn't have anyone seriously injured.''

At least 20 people, all in different vehicles, have filed reports that they were struck by rocks, he said. Officials still have about a half-dozen more reports to take.

Damage to the vehicles ranged from minor to broken windshields.

On Dec. 26, 1970, a woman from Lincoln, Neb., was killed when a brick thrown from an overpass on the turnpike near Wichita crashed through the windshield of an automobile.

Master Trooper Mike Hover, a Highway Patrol trooper assigned to the turnpike, has been designated as a full-time investigator on the latest incident.

Tangeman said investigators may conduct interviews or education programs in area schools to find out if anyone knows who threw the rocks, and to stress the potential dangers.

"We're going to do everything we can to get the word out," he said.

People with information are asked to call the KTA and ask for Hover or leave their number for him to call them. They may call 843-5826 in Lawrence, 266-5211 in Topeka and 721-2624 in Kansas City, Kan., and dial extension 2202 when the automated operator answers at any of the three locations.

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