The continued spate of vehicle windshields shattered along Interstate 25 has Northern Colorado drivers keeping leery eyes on the road as law enforcement searches for answers. (see Coloradoan video stream)
Two motorists reported windows that shattered Wednesday as they traveled I-25 or one of its frontage roads in Northern Colorado, raising the number of similar instances on area roads to seven since April 21.
The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office has classified only one incident, the late-night shooting of a Milliken woman as she drove I-25 near Windsor on April 22, as a shooting. By Wednesday, agencies had not determined the cause of the rest of the shattered windows, or said whether they are tied to the shooting that hospitalized 20-year-old Cori Romero.
“We don’t see anything that demonstrates that any of the other reports were necessarily gunshots or were related,” Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith told the Coloradoan Monday. “Even though this still appears to be a random act, we don’t see evidence of it being anything serial.”
Smith on Wednesday reiterated that there is not evidence to suggest the other incidents are the result of a shooting. Investigators have not released ballistics information about the shooting, and have not said whether any projectiles have been retrieved from any of the other vehicles.
On Wednesday, Colorado State Patrol initiated a traffic stop near Colorado Highway 402 in Loveland after receiving a report of a suspicious blue sedan along I-25. Officers deemed the driver had no involvement in the ongoing probe into broken windows across Larimer and Weld counties.
That stop came just hours after the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office responded to an insurance firm in Fort Collins where a woman reported her rear passenger truck window had shattered while she drove I-25.
And moments after clearing the driver from the traffic stop near Loveland, investigators responded to the park-and-ride near the Windsor exit. There, Brady Collins told investigators she was driving north on the frontage road south of Windsor when her passenger window shattered.
“It took me about 30 seconds to a minute to realize what happened,” Collins said. “I felt the side of my body to make sure I wasn’t bleeding.”
No vehicles were in front of Collins, and her driver-side window was down when she heard what she called “a really, really loud pop.”
“The window just exploded into me,” she said while looking at cracked remnants that lined the window’s frame.
While shattered windows are common repairs due to vehicle break-ins, glass technicians across Fort Collins said it is unusual for so many side windows to break, especially in such a short time-span.
“We don’t see too many where they break on the highway,” said Talon Wright, office manager with Fort Collins-based Novus Glass. While windshield glass is laminated and more resistant to road debris, side windows generally are not. That’s why they crumble.
However, something would still have to hit with high impact to completely shatter even side windows.
“It just depends,” Wright said.
Wednesday’s reports were at least the sixth and seventh similar incidents reported since April 21.
Reports began when a “projectile” shattered the right passenger window on a northbound Larimer County Sheriff’s Office transport van traveling I-25 near Mead. About 11:15 p.m. the next day, Romero was shot in the neck while driving I-25 between Harmony Road and Colorado Highway 392.
Romero has been recovering at an area hospital.
Shortly before Romero was shot, a man reported his rear window shattering in Loveland. And on April 23, a motorist in Weld County reported his driver-side window shattering near Hudson. On Tuesday, Randy Lingbloom reported that his driver-side window broke as he traveled I-25 north of the Mulberry exit in Fort Collins.
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