Detectives working to find suspect launching projectiles at vehicles on Highway 101

Authorities have launched a task force dedicated to finding who has been launching projectiles at cars along Highway 101 in Monterey County.

The attacks have been escalating, and two more incidents were reported just last night.

Since February, 48 vehicles in Monterey County have been struck by some sort of projectile, shattering windows, and terrifying drivers inside.

"I was driving in pretty heavy traffic, going about 60-65 mph and I heard this explosion."

— George De Carvalho, projectile victim.

Prunedale has been the epicenter, but incidents have been reported all over Highways 101 and 156.

And they've been increasing in frequency. There have been 22 incidents since October 1.

On one night, the California Highway Patrol responded to six incidents within a 17 minute period. 

"An unknown person or persons are launching projectiles at a very high velocity. We do not believe they are coming from a firearm. But they are at such a high velocity that they can and will shatter windows."

— Captain Kyle Foster, CHP.

AS QUESTIONS REMAIN, DETECTIVES WORK 24/7

The CHP isn't saying what the projectiles are, for now.

But they are being aimed exclusively at the drivers' side of the car. A CHP task force has detectives working 24/7 on the case.

"Typically what we've seen is that they occur Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays in the later afternoon to early evening hours," says Foster.

The vehicles seem to be targeted completely at random.

POLICE PATROLS INCREASED

After a bus carrying the Carmel High School football team was struck, the Monterey County Sheriff's Office jumped in to add additional manpower to the investigation.

"A lot of our folks are like what are you doing about it? So that's why we decided to offer our help. We didn't take over the investigation we offered our help, offer our assistance, throw our detectives into it and see what we can come up with," said chief deputy John Thornburg with Monterey County sheriff's office. 

Authorities have stepped up patrols in the area. They're advising drivers to keep the windows up and pay attention to their surroundings.

"There's nothing to see. It's all wooded. It's all rural. It's one of those situations where it's unfortunate but it is what it is and you can't stop doing it," says driver Michael Caldwell.

The stretch of Highway 101 is heavily traveled by commuters heading to and from San Jose. Those who drive it say they have no choice but to continue. 

"I actually ignore it and say if it's going to happen it's going to happen. If it isn't, it isn't. If it happens i hope it doesn't kill me," says Jerrianne Moore.

If your car gets hit, authorities say don't drive home. Instead, pull over and immediately call 9-1-1 .

A reward for information leading to the prosecution of the person(s) responsible now stands at $8,500.