Down in Texas, in a large, overcrowded city by the name of Austin, there is a person who spends the day tossing rocks at cars on Interstate 35. Perhaps it’s jealousy of expensive Teslas, or perhaps to eliminate some traffic. Either way, the police finally found a suspect linked to nearly 100 rock-throwing incidents.
The suspect, Patrick Eugene Johnson, is familiar to the Austin police. According to local station KXAN, he’s a felon and a suspected sexual predator. Members of the police force reportedly described Johnson as “well known” to them and said he could be responsible for most of the incidents, which total to about 90 since the rock throwing began in 2014. On Thursday, police charged Johnson with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
For reference on just how large of an issue the rock throwing is in Austin, here’s a news report from over a year ago about the “softball-sized rocks” tossed at cars traveling down the interstate:
Johnson—also convicted for theft, misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance and tampering with a government record in the past—is a frequent flier at the Austin City Council meetings and calls the police on other people regularly, per KXAN.
He’s big on acting as a watchdog for the towing industry, too. From KXAN:
Often Johnson has spoken about issues in the towing industry. He founded a website (not a business or non-profit, according to public records searched by KXAN), under the name Texas Towing Compliance. The website claims to be the “definitive authority on towing law in the state of Texas.”
“His passion would boil over to anger. He would get very agitated when he was talking, and if he didn’t feel like people were listening to him or he wasn’t getting his point across, he would raise his voice,” Farris remembers. “That automatically sends up red flags to you.”
Johnson also called the media on a regular basis in order to inform reporters about situations around the city. Here’s a quote from one of his city council appearances from 2007, from KXAN:
“I probably call 911 more than the average citizen does, reporting anything from drunk drivers, stranded citizens, stranded motorists, road hazards, collisions, crime in progress, and I got to where I know a lot of those call takers,” Johnson said. “They know my voice. I know their voice. They can be rest assured whenever I call they’re going to get the exact location because a lot of times when someone is broke down on the highway or they’re … a collision they don’t have the foggiest idea where they’re at, and the sole reason is for EMS to get the necessary help to the people that need our help.”
That’s odd coming from a guy who allegedly tosses rocks at those motorists, a practice that occasionally warrants trips to the hospital. It’s dangerous hobby, especially for a suspect who’s said he wants to get “help to the people.”