Police investigation on 390 north

Updated: 06/05/2014 6:50 PM
Created: 06/05/2014 12:06 PM WHEC.com
By: Rebecca Fath, Rachel Spotts and Brett Davidsen

Another car was hit by something on 390, shattering a car window. This is the tenth incident in the area that police are investigation and now sheriff's deputies believe "the suspect or suspects responsible may be inside a moving vehicle."

The latest incident happened on 390 north near Lexington Avenue. Dave Mercendetti called 911 after his window shattered.

Dave Mercendetti said, “I was just kind of cruising. I was jamming to the tunes. I was singing away.”

That’s when Dave Mercendetti heard a loud bang.

Mercendetti said, “I thought my car died or I had a flat or something.”

But it was something else. 

Mercendetti said, “All the glass shattered all over me and I just pulled over and called the police.”

That's when investigators showed up to search the car. They found no evidence that can tell them how it happened. They do say they have no reason to believe this was a shooting.

Lt. Doug Comanzo, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, said, “We haven't determined anything to be as a result of someone intentionally trying to damage vehicles at this point. We have many construction vehicles going up and down hauling stones, so there are opportunities where objects can strike a vehicle and cause damage.”

Mercendetti doesn't think it was a rock.

Mercendetti said, “It's kind of scary.  I mean I didn't see anything. I didn't see nobody or nothing so that's the thing that's scary. It's just this big bang and you know where is this guy or people, what's going on?”

Investigators say this doesn't appear to be suspicious. They took what was left of the window back to the lab to examine it more closely to try to find out what hit it.

Watch our interview with Dave Mercendetti

What are police doing? 

The sheriff’s department said it believes that a suspect or suspects may be inside a moving vehicle. So how are investigators going about catching a possible suspect?  Investigators say they are using a variety of investigative techniques.

While investigators say they have no evidence that it was intentionally caused, the frequency of the cases is disturbing. Since early April, there have been ten reported incidents of something hitting car windows, most of them on 390.

Right now, sheriff’s investigators say they found BBs at two of the scenes on I-490 and acknowledge they believe those two incidents are probably linked. 

What about the others? In those cases, investigators have yet to find a rock, slug or pellet. Right now, they aren’t even sure if there’s a suspect to chase. 

So what are they doing to find out? News10NBC wanted to know if they have located any witnesses or if they are using surveillance to try to trap a would-be suspect. When we asked to question senior sheriff’s officials about it on camera, they didn’t respond to our request.

Last month, the undersheriff told News10NBC they put extra patrols on 390 and 490 and have also deployed bikes and ATVs to patrol the wooded areas along the highways. They were on the scene Thursday and are hoping they can get some answers from the lab.

Lt. Doug Comanzo, Monroe Co. Sheriff’s Office, said, “We've gone through the vehicle thoroughly. You saw the technician take some part of the window. We'll take that back to the lab. We'll examine that more closely to try to determine what actually hit the window.”

Police acknowledge they don't have all the answers and need the help of the public. They ask that if you see something or someone suspicious as you are driving on the roads, to call police and report it.

What are drivers saying?

Drivers say they are concerned about the incidents happening on our area highways. One woman said she’s avoiding the highways altogether because she fears for her safety.

Dena Karras said, “It is scary. I have my kids in the car and even though they are older, you don’t want anything happening to you, your vehicle.”

Dena Karras says driving on 390 has become too dangerous for her family. About a month ago, she says she used the highway regularly, sometimes daily. That was before recent reports that numerous cars were hit by something, maybe even shot at. Now she says she takes side roads to get around.

Karras said, “I've just been avoiding it even though I just work up the street.  There are times that I do need to use it, but I've just been avoiding it, using the back roads recently because of the incidents. I mean, you just don't know the next time that it could happen.”

That is the same sentiment being echoed by a number of drivers. Other drivers say they are not too concerned, but say they will be a little more cautious whenever they get on I-390.

Current incidents under investigation by sheriff's deputies 

April 15 (Reported 5/1)       

Route 390 and 104

vehicle struck in quarter panel

April 21

Route 390 and 104

Vehicle damage

May 1

Route 390 S at Buffalo Road train overpass

tractor trailer rear window

May 14

490 westbound at train overpass west of Mt. Read (two vehicles)

Windshield damage

May 14/15 (reported 5/19)

Route 390 at Brooks Avenue

Windshield damage

May 20

390 NB area north of railroad tracks

Chip in driver side window

May 20

390 SB Chili Avenue

Chip in passenger side window

May 21

West Jefferson near Clover

Driver side window shattered

May 23

Ayrault Road EB at Moseley Road

Damage to passenger side of windshield

June 5

390 NB near Trolley Blvd. overpass

Damage to rear driver side window

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