Car Crash Blamed on Rocks Thrown from Parkway Overpass

By Jacqueline Garcia, EGP Staff Writer

Highland Park resident Jose Luis Osuna installed extra protection to keep his windows from being broken if someone were to throw a rock at his house. Never did he think that a rock thrown from a freeway overpass would one day leaving him paralyzed and unable to speak.

On Jan. 17 at around 11:30pm, Osuna, 56, was driving home from work on the 110 Arroyo Seco Parkway North when a medium sized rock thrown from the Avenue 43 overpass shattered his windshield and hit him in the face and neck, dislocating his jaw, according to his sister Rosario Osuna.

Osuna lost control of his car and crashed into the freeway retaining wall.

Lea este artículo en Español: Una Roca Aventada de un Puente Causa Choque Severo

Rosario said she was in shock when she saw her brother who had been taken to Huntington Memorial Hospital. He was “unrecognizable,” she told EGP in Spanish, still shaken by his injuries.

“His head was big, his face was very swollen, bruised almost black, his teeth fell out and his vocal cords were destroyed,” Rosario recalled. “He can’t speak, and the right side of his body is paralyzed,” because someone decided to throw a rock at his car, she said Monday in disgust.

For months, motorists have had to deal with objects being thrown at them from a hole in the wire mesh on the bridge.
Montecito Heights resident Erin Scott-Walsh told EGP she was driving north on the parkway in the left lane with her sister about a week ago and as they approached Avenue 43 they saw “what appeared to be a younger male” tossing a water bottle through the hole of the fence, hitting a truck traveling in the same direction.

Hole in fencing on Avenue 43 bridge made it easy for vandals to throw rocks at cars on the Arroyo Secco Parkway. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

Hole in fencing on Avenue 43 bridge made it easy for vandals to throw rocks at cars on the Arroyo Secco Parkway. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

After learning about Osuna’s incident via social media, Scott-Walsh said she became more concerned.

“The truck didn’t react to the bottle, that’s why I thought it might have been empty, but the possibility [of another accident] was there and it scared me,” she said.

Following up on the rock throwing complaints, EGP found there seems to be confusion at the Los Angeles Police Department about which police division covers the area by the Avenue 43 overpass. Local residents told EGP calls to police sometimes go unanswered due to the confusion over jurisdiction.

Hollenbeck Division Capt. Martin Baeza told EGP his staff is not handling “nor do we have any reports of rock throwing.”

Likewise, Northeast Division Capt. Arturo Sandoval said he contacted his “aggravated assault detectives,” however, “I don’t recall us handling any” related incident either.

Osuna’s case is being investigated by California Highway Patrol, which has jurisdiction over freeways. CHP Officer Robin Hines told EGP they haven’t arrested anyone, but have a suspect and they are following some leads.

“We are waiting for lab results of DNA testing” on the rock, said Hines explaining the results could take “from a few weeks up to a month to arrive.”

In order to maintain a more secured area, Hines said extra patrols have been placed near the area of the incident.

The hole in the fence, however, is the city’s responsibility as is the crime on adjacent streets.

Several people living near Avenue 43 said they believe the rock thrower to be a homeless man living in an encampment near the bridge.

José Luis Osuna, 56, was left paralyzed after a rock was thrown form the overpass on Ave. 43 on the Arroyo Seco Parkway 110.

José Luis Osuna, 56, was left paralyzed after a rock was thrown form the overpass on Ave. 43 on the Arroyo Seco Parkway 110.

A resident, who out of fear for her family’s safety asked to not use her name, said she and her husband have called the police several times to report the man — who appeared to have mental issues and  “goes into rages and becomes disruptive.”

The woman didn’t witness Osuna’s accident, but did hear “a big explosion.” It wasn’t until the next morning that learned what happened.

“Shortly after is when [the homeless] encampment disappeared,” she said.

Other residents in the area said they too fear the man described as a Latino in his 30s. They claim he kicks over their trashcans and breaks car windows.

“Unless you see him and serve as a witness police won’t arrest him,” complained the woman who spoke to EGP on condition of anonymity.

Hollenbeck Division redirects her to the Northeast division and vice-versa when she calls to report him, she complained.

“We have to call multiple times and when they finally come they only give him a warrant,” she said.

Osuna spent two weeks in a coma before being moved to a skilled nursing home, according to his sister Rosario.

On Wednesday, following EGP’s inquiries to the city, the public works department repaired the hole in the fence that had made it easier for vandals to throw rocks at cars passing by. A spokesperson for public works, Elena Stern, told EGP the department encourages residents who find similar issues to report them by calling 311 or downloading the MyLA311 app for mobile devices.

Doctors don’t know if Osuna will ever speak or move again, said Rosario, who hopes an arrest is made soon to keep others from being harmed.

Jose Luis Osuna’s friends have created a gofundme page to help with his hospital expenses. To donate visit: https://www.gofundme.com/x2qz2bac.

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Twitter @jackiereporter

jgarcia@egpnews.com

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February 25, 2016  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

Comments

3 Responses to “Car Crash Blamed on Rocks Thrown from Parkway Overpass”

  1. Jaime on February 25th, 2016 12:42 pm

    In mid-January we had to call CHP to report a huge boulder in the number 1 lane of the 110 south just past Ave 43.

  2. Sandra on February 26th, 2016 7:36 pm

    Boy this really burns me up. That poor man. It could have been any of us who drives that parkway every day. If this crazy person is known to the residents and is terrorizing the neighborhood then he needs to be put away before, God forbid, he pushes a person off that bridge. Seems the police have to be a little more proactive in this case.

  3. Eastside Review: Compton councilman’s brothers shot in East L.A; Echo Park bridge to get a makeover; Glassell Park school plans expansion | Eastsider LA | Hometown Pasadena | on February 28th, 2016 8:14 pm

    […] A rock thrown from the Avenue 43 overpass last month has now left a Highland Park man partially paralyzed after his car crashed on the Arroyo Seco Parkway. EGP News […]

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