Tossing bricks from overpasses far more than a teenage prank

Charges should always fit the crime, and in the case of three Midway teens now facing myriad felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, the alleged actions have begged for the leveled offenses.

And while there are some, even a few who have called this newspaper, who think the charges against the Midway teens are far weightier than the actions they are charged with committing, we strongly disagree.

On Feb. 1, one 17-year-old and two 18-year-olds from the Midway-area community were arrested by Cumberland County authorities. Since that time they’ve been charged with multiple counts each of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and damage to property. The offenses stem from incidents that occurred on the Sherrill Bagget Road overpass when, officers allege, culprits tossed bricks and rocks from the overpass onto motorists traveling Interstate 95. The three were jailed under $350,000 bond.

Some were appalled at the high bond set for the teens; others were angry that felony charges were leveled.

We believe the charges fit the crimes committed, and while the three young men charged remain innocent until proven guilty, if they are found to be responsible for the offenses then the toughest punishment possible needs to be meted out.

The offenses are very serious and deserve far more than a slap on the hand and a stern “don’t do that any more.”

Throwing bricks and rocks from overpasses onto the motoring public is far more than a teenage prank. Those actions could have easily killed one or more innocent people minding their own business as they traveled from one destination to another. Thankfully, in these incidents only property damage was reported, but the consequences of careless acts such as these could been far, far more serious than what actually happened.

So charging the three Midway teens with serious felonies first of all fits the crimes they allegedly committed and secondly it serves to show them that while they may have thought it was no more than a way to get some laughs and raise someone’s ire, the outcome could have been a lot worse than a damaged vehicle roof.

There have been other incidents where bricks tossed from overpasses have seriously injured and even killed motorists. Fortunately for all those involved, nothing that tragic occurred. But we cannot say it enough — it could have.

And it’s sad to think that adults would even consider excusing this away as a childish prank or a “boys will be boys” behavior that deserves a stern look but no more.

Damaging someone’s property is far more than a prank; using bricks and rocks that become mini torpedoes when sent sailing from high above a target a destructive choice. Both are deadly weapons that can, and do, cause destruction and death.

Anyone who thinks such actions are a laughing matter or merely a teenage prank needs to consider how they’d feel if that rock or brick had landed on their vehicle or come crashing through their windshield. We’ve no doubt opinions would change … and they should.

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