ALPINE, Calif. -- California Highway Patrol officers suspect someone is purposely leaving concrete blocks, parking stops and other debris on Interstate 8, triggering dangerous late night crashes in unincorporated El Cajon near Alpine.
Reports of the suspicious accidents first cropped up in January and February of this year, when landscaping blocks lying on I-8 westbound, east of Dunbar Lane, caused a series of crashes on four separate occasions. Each time, the accidents occurred between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. -- and each time, the same kind of large blocks were found in the traffic lanes.
When CHP issued a public notice about the crashes, asking for help finding the person or people responsible, the incidents stopped.
But in a release issued Saturday, CHP says an early morning accident is striking a concerning chord. Just before 12:30 a.m. on June 9, the agency received multiple calls about vehicles hitting a concrete object on a familiar stretch of highway: Interstate 8 westbound, east of Dunbar Lane.
“Suddenly we saw an object on the road, and we couldn’t change lanes because traffic was right there, so we had to hit it,” said one victim who identified himself as Mak.
Units arrived to find about 10 cars had suffered bent wheels and flat tires after they hit a concrete parking stop that had been placed in the roadway. Four concrete parking stops -- weighing about 60 pounds -- and three cinder blocks were also found nearby.
Officers suspect the case is connected to a string of similar incidents from the beginning of January to Feb. 7, Garrow said. The CHP received four reports of landscaping wall blocks in traffic lanes, causing moderate to major damage to cars, during that period, each time between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m.
“We have a potential for a fatality or a major vehicle collision, and that’s what we are trying to stop before it happens again,” said CHP Officer Travis Barrow.
CHP says they're increasing patrols in the area, but there is no information on a possible suspect at this time. The agency urged anyone who has seen anything suspicious in the area to contact the CHP El Cajon area office at 619-401-2000.