At around midnight Saturday morning Santa Clarita resident Brandon Barsh stepped into his company van, flicked on the headlights, and prepared for what he expected to be a routine commute home along the quiet surface streets.
Barsh’s journey home after a 12-hour workday began predictably; little traffic, mostly green lights, and minor activity along the sidewalks.
But everything changed when Barsh turned onto Decoro Drive in Valencia, as it was here that the serenity of the drive came to an abrupt end.
As Barsh proceeded up Decoro, a projectile thrown from the Paseo bridge located roughly halfway between Hillsborough Parkway and Grandview Drive came hurtling into his windshield.
“I knew exactly what happened,” said Barsh. “My first reaction was just this anger.”
The projectile, a frozen water balloon, was allegedly launched by a group of four teenagers propped on top of the bridge.
Barsh immediately exited the vehicle and confronted the juveniles, who he said walked nonchalantly down from their perch on the Paseo overpass.
“I confronted them, but they saw me and took off and ran,” Barsh said.
Instead of returning home to his family after 12 hours of work, Barsh now found himself on the side of Decoro, at midnight, assessing the damage to his car – a van owned by his company Boosh Racing, LLC.
“It didn’t dismantle the glass” he said of his tempered glass windshield. “But it cracked all the way through.”
Although concerned about having to replace the windshield, Barsh was more worried about the safety concerns posed by this group of vandalous youth.
A dense projectile striking a car from an elevated location, like the paseo bridge, can surprise and stun an unsuspecting driver; and although the balloon may not penetrate the glass, it can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle.
On this segment of Decoro, which features streetlamps at regular intervals along the road and many older trees with wide trunks, losing control of one’s vehicle could be fatal.
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Department dispatched their early morning units to the scene, but the perpetrators were nowhere to be found.
A representative from the Department, however, said that “throwing objects at a moving vehicle can be considered a felony ”as per the California Vehicle Code Section 23110A.
Violating this code can net time in state prison and if you’re in state prison, [the crime’s] a felony according to the SCV Sheriff’s Station.
This incident, although unconnected, comes just three weeks after a local 14-year-old boy was taken into custody for vandalizing various business in Newhall.
Many Santa Clarita residents took to Facebook to express their concerns about the multiple juvenile crimes committed over the past few weeks, but to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Department, vandalism via frozen water balloons is a new first.
Brandon Barsh was able to return home to his wife Sara in the early hours of the morning, and while the assailants may not be found to face punitive action, they hope this serves as a wake-up call to parents across the valley and a reminder that seemingly harmless pranks can have dire consequences.