Sheriff seeking suspects scattering tire-flattening, hoof-harming caltrops on roadways

Updated: Jul. 8, 2020 at 2:49 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The Smith County Sheriff’s Office is seeking information regarding the person responsible for placing dangerous devices in local roadways.

From the Smith County Sheriff’s Office:

Smith County Deputies are asking for the public’s help in identifying the individual(s) responsible for scattering/manufacturing several caltrop devices made of welded rebar on I-20 from US 69 in Smith County to FM 314 in Van Zandt County.

These devices are made of rebar and are approximately three inches in size. They are welded, sharpened at every point and painted black. Texas Department of Transportation maintenance crews have stepped up debris collection in an ongoing effort to remove this dangerous road hazard. Over thirty of them have been collected in the past week.

A caltrop is a device with four metal points arranged so when any three are on the ground, the fourth projects upward as a hazard to the hooves of horses or to pneumatic tires. This device is a tire deflation device and is a prohibited weapon by the Texas Penal Code (Chapter 46 section 46.05). A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly possesses, manufactures, transports, repairs, or sells a tire deflation device. This offense is a state jail felony.

Anyone who may have witnessed these devices being scattered or has information about the individual(s) manufacturing them is asked to contact the Smith County Sheriff’s Office at 903-566-6600. If outside of Smith County, please contact your local law enforcement agency.

As always, when you see TxDoT crews, contract workers or law enforcement on the highways, please move over and/or slow down to protect their safety.

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