Nearly four years after they first showed up on an East Texas highway, tire-puncturing devices have once again reappeared.

As far back as July 2020, tire puncturing devices, known as caltrops, have been scattered along a stretch of I-20 through Van Zandt and Smith Counties. Someone or a group of people are purposely creating these dangerous devices and placing them along the roadway.

TxDOT was notified about the debris in the roadway and acted quickly to clean up the devices.

What is a caltrop?

Is a manufactured device usually of welded rebar that has four sharp points on it. When resting, three points will be on the ground and one sharp point will be pointed up creating a hazard to tires that are rolling along I-20 at speeds of 75 miles per hour or higher.

The U.S. Department of Defense defines them as 'four-pronged, heavy gauge steel puncturing spikes that can be thrown or linked together to cause immediate, irreparable, catastrophic failure of pneumatic tires.'

If a passenger car, light truck, or 18-wheeler were to drive over one of these it would puncture the tire causing loss of air pressure and most likely cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle. In some cases, serious injuries could occur from a possible wreck.

Where is this happening?

TXDOT crews collected about a dozen of these devices on Monday, May 6th along I-20 in Van Zandt County. Westbound at mile marker 533 and eastbound at mile markers 518, 520, 528, and 529.

These devices measure anywhere from 3" to 6" in size and are spray-painted black to make them nearly impossible to see on the road surface while traveling at a high rate of sped. Drivers traveling through Van Zandt County or this stretch of I-20 are urged to use caution.

Anyone who may have any information at all as to who/who's placing these items on the highway's surface is urged to call Lt. Bob Keltner with the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office at 469.576.1274. You can also call Andrew Faglie with Texas DPS at 903.567.2011 ext. 10914.

Gregg County Law Enforcement Arrest 47 On Felony Charges Last Week (05.05.24)

The following individuals were recently arrested and booked into the Gregg County Jail and received at least one felony charge. These individuals are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Some individuals have posted bail and are out of jail at this time while others are waiting for a bond hearing or court date.

All charges were current at the time this article was created, but some charges may have been dropped since.

Some of the individuals below were detained by Gregg County deputies and are being held on a US Marshal, Federal, or Immigration detainer.

All information is provided by an open records request by the Gregg County Sheriff's Office.

Gallery Credit: Gregg County Sheriff's Office

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