Motorists making their way down Durham Drive in the Heights have experienced what they thought was BB gun pellets shattering their windows. But now some say the flying objects are of a more damaging variety – and the problem is worsening.
In our Dec. 31 edition, The Leader briefly detailed a report where drivers reported having their cars and windows hit by flying objects near Durham and 13th Street – once thought to be BBs, but now said to be slingshot marbles, metal nuts and ball bearings after another occurence near Durham and 12th.
“It happened to me two nights in a row, so I assumed it had to have happened to somebody else,” a resident named Holly said after she was hit.
As it turns out, she was right. Almost immediately after putting out a call on social media, she received multiple responses confirming her suspicions, along with a lengthy thread on a neighborhood NextDoor page that wound up totaling about 20 reports.
“People have been getting dents and broken windows, and the car (drivers) feel as if they’re getting shot at,” Holly said.
Deputies with the Precinct 1 Constable’s Office investigated the happenings in the area last week, and concluded that the occurrences are the result of a marble spill onto the road, which have then been disturbed and kicked up by passing drivers, causing the subsequent damage.
“The landlord behind [the nearby house being blamed] has video that goes all the way around that house. When I watched the whole thing, nobody comes out with a slingshot,” said Deputy Bowden with the Precinct 1 Constable’s Office, who investigated the claims. “When I walked to the other side – where the house was – there’s these marbles and things all over the place. At this point, I have video evidence this guy isn’t shooting a slingshot at these people.”
However, the explanation seemed a bit odd to Holly and her husband, who walked down to investigate – and she says what they found points to more than just a simple marble spill.
“When we walked down there, we found various tracers (slingshot marbles). There were also metal nuts and ball bearings, and metal nuts were what hit our car the second night,” she said. “The more we talked about it, we realized it was all on the left side [of the one-way road]. Other cars couldn’t have been kicking it up – cars were being hit straight on, too.”
Bowden, however, said that is always possible when kicking up those type of projectiles.
“You run over a marble – or anything like that – and rolls up behind your tire, that thing’s going to shoot like a slingshot at your car, whatever way it goes. It will go whatever direction it can.”
Holly proceeded to then post it to several Heights neighborhood groups, and has gotten even more responses – bringing the total to around 30 reports that she knows of. One neighbor has even found the ball bearing in their car.
“The police just are not willing to do much about it,” she said. “The more people tell me [about these things], the messier things seem to be getting.”
In Bowden’s mind, however, there’s simply not much to be done legally, seeing as it remains plausible those buts and ball bearings could be remnants from a nearby Tommy Vaughn Ford lot. He said he has placed a call in to 3-1-1 for a cleanup along that stretch, but at this juncture, there is no visual evidence of wrongdoing.
“I can see every window of this house on video, and there’s nobody shooting anything. There’s nothing there. If I had video of someone shooting, they’d be in jail right now,” he said.