Driver escapes death in A24 bridge attack

A DRIVER narrowly escaped death after a concrete rock was thrown at his car from an A24 bridge in Broadbridge Heath on Tuesday night.

Thursday, 5th April 2012, 12:18 pm

Dave McCarthy, of Horley, suffered cuts to his face and chest after the small boulder came crashing into his windscreen at around 8.30pm.

He and his girlfriend had been making their way home from visiting parents when the ‘reckless’ and life-threatening incident occurred.

“I had something the size of a clenched fist hit the windscreen dead in front of my eyes, it left a hole in the windscreen right in front of me,” Dave told the County Times yesterday.

The rock, launched from the pedestrian walkway between Tesco and the back of Tanbridge House School, landed just inches away from Dave’s face, splaying shattered glass into his car.

The ‘lucky’ and ‘angry’ 29-year-old claimed the object could have killed him if it penetrated through the windscreen.

“Scarily, all I did was brake and swear,” he continued, “I slammed on the brakes and flashed the vehicle in front of me to see if they saw what happened.

“I had a couple of cuts and trickles of blood from where the glass shattered over me, but if it had gone through the windscreen, bonnet or sun roof, one of us wouldn’t be here.”

Dave sought refuge at the Broadbridge Heath Tesco petrol station where he contacted the police.

The driver says he and his girlfriend were ‘extremely lucky’, but remains frustrated as this is not the first time he has encountered a bridge attack.

“A few years ago I had something thrown at me - it was a fruit, a big berry or something that I saw kids throw off a bridge.”

Dave blames ‘kids to teenagers’ for his latest ordeal, claiming their actions are down to ‘sheer boredom’ during the Easter holidays.

He continued: “The only thing you can do is blame the parents, because it’s not up to society to look after your kids. Your kids should know even if they’re bored that this can’t be done.”

Dave sends out this stark warning to Horsham’s youth: “It may be seen as a bit of harmless fun, but if you kill somebody, you will have to live with that until the day you die as well.”

Horsham police are investigating the incident and say that this type of crime is more common during school holidays but it ‘tends to be egg throwing rather than stones’.

PC Natalie Steward said: “At this time we are hoping it was a reckless one off incident - however we will be patrolling for this type of behaviour.”

Officers are appealing for witnesses around the Broadbridge Heath area. Dave was travelling northbound on the A24 at the time of the incident and did not see anyone on the bridge.

Police are working in co-operation with Tesco as their CCTV is being scanned carefully for any suspects. In the meantime one of the supermarket’s cameras has been re-angled to capture as much footage as possible around the bridge area in a bid to stave off any future attacks.

PC Steward added: “This incident is being investigated by police as criminal damage with an intent to endanger life - an irresponsible act which could a risk of potential injury to persons within the vehicle.

“If anyone saw any persons acting suspiciously or within the area concerned please provide descriptions and any direction of travel they were taking.”

Anyone with information can contact 101 quoting serial reference number 1655 03/04/12.