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Drivers at ease after arrest of suspect in Prunedale projectile investigation


PRUNEDALE, Calif. (KION) Rattled nerves has marked the commute through Prunedale since last February.

"I try to avoid going on the freeway," said driver Jose Salazar in 2019.

"I'm just a little afraid," said Eunice Anaya in 2019.

The fear has plagued drivers for months. Thursday, for the first time in nearly a year, drivers have regained a sense of safety heading into their evening commute.

"I was worried about it because I thought it could happen to me. If they caught the person that did it, oh my God, that's wonderful," said driver, Joseph Pintacura.

52-year-old Charles Lafferty is now behind bars. Lafferty is accused of launching glass marbles at a number of vehicles along Highway 101 and State Route 156 in Monterey and San Benito counties.

"I'm glad they did it. It's been going on for a long time. I'm really excited if they got the right person," said driver, Jerry Sanchez.

The California Highway Patrol said five of the 69 reported incidents resulted in minor injuries.

Time after time, victims shared their experiences in hopes the person responsible would be caught. "Someone was driving the opposite direction and either threw something. It sounded kind of like a balloon popping," said driver, Alan Jenkins, after his vehicle was hit in late November.

Although a suspect has been placed in custody, many questions are left unanswered. "Were they doing it from their car? Were they doing it from a hidden place in the hills?," said Pintacura.

"What was the purpose behind all that? What was he trying to do? What was he thinking?," said Sanchez.

The California Highway Patrol doesn't believe any other people were involved in the repetitive attacks. Drivers said they hope officers are right.

"The travelers that come from far, that maybe don't know about it, are now so much safer," said Pintacura.

Monterey County / San Benito County / Top Stories / Traffic

Megan Meier

Megan Meier is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.


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