Rocks thrown from Newport hillside injure Independence couple

NEWPORT, KY (FOX19) - If you live in Newport or Bellevue, police say someone has been hurling rocks from overpasses and hillsides, creating a traffic nightmare for motorists.

It's a dangerous situation, with the latest crime happened near the Newport Exit 4 on ramp getting onto I-471 South. It's the exit near the brand new Newport Target store.

Amber Rickels and her husband had just left the Target in Newport Wednesday night and were driving up the ramp to get onto I-471 South. Their night had a calamitous ending, when someone threw rocks off the hillside, crashing through their sunroof.

Rickels and her husband are lucky they were not hurt worse.

"I just have little pieces of glass in the side of my face and I have it in my arms," said Rickels. "My husband had it in his eyes."

"It's all in this side," she said gesturing to the right side of her face. "Feels like splinters."

Tiny red dots pepper her right arm, where Rickels said she can still feel glass shards. Her sunroof exploded.

"It literally blew-up when it blew," she said, on her two-month old 2012 ACURA TL.

"It blew all over the inside of the car, it was on the front dash, it was on the back window, it was all over the floor, all over the seats," she said. "It blew all over the whole interior."

"So much for my new car," she said.

"This was the one that came in through the car," she said holding the actual rock that landed in her car. "And there was another one that hit my passenger side mirror."

"The rock came through and we didn't know what was happening," Rickels said. "My husband looked up because he heard the thud and then, that's when he got the glass in his eyes. But I looked down because I was trying to figure out what was hitting me."

Amber demonstrated, using her husband's car, how they were positioned, when the sunroof came crashing inward.

"It came in right here through the center," she motioned. "And it landed on the center console."

"Thank God my son was not in the car," she said.

Their 1-year-old was at the babysitter's or else it could have been a lot worse.

"Everything blew back in his car seat," she said. "I think the most valuable lesson I learned, is when you have your child in the car, leave this shade closed, because if I would have had the shade closed, none of the glass would have come down into the car."

The couple believes whoever lobbed those rocks at their car did so from a well-hidden spot, way up on the hillside, leading along the southbound ramp to I-471.

And the Rickels were not the only victims.

"There was a car right before us, a lady in a jaguar," she said. "And she turned around and came back and pulled-up behind us and said oh my gosh, you've been hit with a rock, because I was too."

Rickels said the woman's car sustained a huge dent, while their car had to be towed.

"Every time we tried to get in it, we were getting cut," she said.

The investigating police officer told the Rickels they've gotten multiple complaints in Newport and also in Bellevue.

Apparently, the suspects are standing on overpasses throwing rocks down and then Wednesday night's nightmare, with the rocks being thrown from the hillside.

Police say all the more reason to not get distracted with your cell phone or otherwise. So, stay alert, because you never know what life is going to throw at you next.

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