Overpass death highlights dangers from above for motorists and pedestrians

A recent incident involving a sandbag is only the latest occurrence.

ByEmily Shapiro
December 27, 2017, 3:33 PM

— -- Four teenagers appeared in court this morning on murder charges for allegedly hurling a sandbag over an overpass, killing a 22-year-old man in a car below.

This isn't the first incidence of a thrown item killing or injuring innocent people.

Here's a look at some other occurrences that involved items ranging from a sandbag, a rock, a shopping cart and even a frozen turkey:

December 2017

Four teenagers are in custody after Toledo, Ohio, police say they threw a construction sandbag from an overpass on Dec. 19, hitting a passenger in a car on the interstate below.

PHOTO: In this undated file photo of I-75 interstate highway in Toledo, Ohio, an incident happened where some teenagers threw a sandbag off a highway overpass.
In this undated file photo of I-75 interstate highway in Toledo, Ohio, an incident happened where some teenagers threw a sandbag off a highway overpass.
Google Maps

The victim, 22-year-old Marquise Byrd, of Warren, Michigan, died three days later.

Three teenagers are 14 years old, police said. The other teen is 13.

They were charged with murder and vehicular vandalism, the Lucas County Prosecutor’s Office said. The teens appeared in court this morning, where they denied the murder charge, the prosecutor's office said.

PHOTO: Police investigate a crime scene in Toledo, Ohio where a man was struck with a construction sandbag.
Police investigate a crime scene in Toledo, Ohio where a man was struck with a construction sandbag.
WTVG

Lillian Diallo, an attorney for the victim's family, said in a statement that Byrd was "a nice, gentle young man who always had a smile on his face."

"And he wasn’t mean-spirited; he was so loving," the statement said. "He’s leaving a son, who will be three in the upcoming year. He has a mother and a brother and a host of other family members that are trying to make sense of this tragedy.”

October 2017

PHOTO: An undated photo released by the Genesee County Sheriff's Office shows a car windshield that was smashed by a rock thrown from an overpass on Oct. 20, 2017 in Vienna Township, Mich.
An undated photo released by the Genesee County Sheriff's Office shows a car windshield that was smashed by a rock thrown from an overpass on Oct. 20, 2017 in Vienna Township, Mich.
Genesee County Sheriff's Office

Five teenage boys in Michigan are facing charges including second-degree murder for allegedly throwing a rock at a van that went through the windshield and killed a passenger in October.

On Oct. 18, the victim, Kenneth White, and his friend were driving on the interstate when the driver said a large rock came through their van. The rock, according to the driver, struck White, 32, in the face and then ricocheted from his face to his chest, officials said.

The teens -- who were charged as adults with second-degree murder -- were also charged with conspiracy to commit murder and malicious destruction of property. They all pleaded not guilty, ABC affiliate WJRT in Flint reported in October.

They could face life in prison if convicted, officials said.

WJRT reported in October that White's fiance, Amiee Cagle, said she hoped the teen who allegedly threw the rock is sentenced to life in prison.

Cagle added that she will try to forgive the teens, WJRT reported.

"I know that's what Kenneth would have wanted," she said. "It's going to take time, a lot of time."

PHOTO: Family of Ken White, who was killed when a rock was thrown from an overpass on Interstate 75, listen as the alleged perpetrators are arraigned on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017, in Genesee County District Court in downtown Flint, Mich.
Family of Ken White, who was killed when a rock was thrown from an overpass on Interstate 75, listen as the alleged perpetrators are arraigned on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017, in Genesee County District Court in downtown Flint, Mich.
Terray Sylvester /The Flint Journal-MLive.com via AP

October 2011

On Oct. 30, 2011, a New York City woman was seriously injured when a shopping cart fell four stories onto her at an East Harlem shopping center, according to The Associated Press.

The victim, Marion Hedges, was at the mall at the time buying Halloween candy for underprivileged children. She suffered a serious brain injury.

Two teenagers pleaded guilty in the assault.

One teen was sentenced to six to 18 months at a center for at-risk students, while the other teen was ordered to spend six months in a therapeutic group home, The New York Post reported.

In 2012, Hedges said she forgave the teens.

As of 2015, Hedges was still suffering from memory loss, double vision and impaired motor skills, the Post reported.

Her husband, Michael Hedges, told the Post, "This has destroyed our lives in every possible way.”

November 2004

On Nov. 13, 2004, a 44-year-old woman was in her car on Long Island when she was struck in the head by a 20-pound frozen turkey, the New York Post reported.

Victoria Ruvolo spent two weeks in an induced coma. Her esophagus was caved in, both cheeks and her jaw were shattered, the socket of one eye was fractured and she suffered brain damage.

Then-18-year-old Ryan Cushing pleaded guilty and was sent to jail for six months. He could have faced up to 25 years in prison if convicted, but Ruvolo asked the judge to show mercy, ABC News reported in 2005.

Ruvolo said at the time of a lengthy prison sentence, "I don't think that would have done him, myself or society any good."

Ruvolo said when Cushing pleaded guilty, "He came over to me and his eyes started swelling up and he was starting to apologize. ... And then he took me in his arms and the only thing I could do was comfort him. I needed that hug from him as much as he needed it from me."

When Cushing was released, he helped Ruvolo at a conflict-resolution youth program, the Post reported in 2011.

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