Two teenagers from Peterborough, Ont., have been charged after rocks thrown from a highway overpass smashed through windshields in the same area where police say a local boy was fatally struck while throwing snowballs in a similar incident a decade ago.
Ontario Provincial Police launched an investigation in late September after rocks were thrown at 15 vehicles from the Highway 115 Bypass near the Bensfort Road exit.
Police said some of the vehicles sustained significant damage and rocks also smashed through the windshields of a tractor trailer and a minivan.
“I think they were in great, great danger,” OPP Const. Jason Folz told Global News, adding that many of the vehicles were travelling more than 100 km/h when they were struck.
The OPP made “exhaustive” efforts to track down the suspects with the help of an Emergency Response Team, canine units and patrols by both uniformed and plain clothes police officers.
Folz said the result could have been catastrophic, adding the suspects were difficult to track down due to the “sporadic” nature of the incidents over the past few months.
Police announced Thursday that two Peterborough boys aged 13 and 14 had been charged with 15 counts of mischief endangering life. They are scheduled to appear in a Peterborough court on Dec. 12.
“It’s a pretty significant charge the one of mischief endangering life and we’re talking 15 counts each,” he said, adding he hoped the suspects realized the seriousness of the charges.
“If not certainly the justice system will convey to them how serious it actually is and could be.”
He added the drivers were “shaken up” by the incidents but no injuries were reported.
Folz said a 16-year-old Peterborough boy was killed in January 2006 while throwing snowballs on the nearby Ashburnham Street overpass, when he ran across the southbound lanes of Highway 115 and was fatally struck by a minivan.
“That’s the next exit over,” he said. “So playing on the highway in this manner is dangerous for everybody.”