Rock attack victim Nathan Tipton hopes for justice in death of Alexa Bartell

Nathan Tipton is frustrated, irritated and angry, but the 49-year-old is also thankful to be alive or not seriously injured.

Tipton, who drives a minivan for fares, is among the half-dozen victims who had their vehicles damaged by someone, or people, who hurled stones in moving traffic. Twenty-year-old Alexa Bartell was killed last week when a rock smashed through the windshield of her car in the 10600 block of Indiana Street in Jefferson County.

“It took somebody’s life,” Tipton said of the senseless incident. “It’s a sad thing. It’s horrible, no one should lose their child in such a random act. I hope Alexa and her family can get some type of justice.”

Metro Denver Crime Stoppers is offering a $17,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the ongoing case. Investigators with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office ask for the public’s help in identifying and locating the suspect, or suspects, believed to be in a light-colored pickup truck or SUV when rocks were hurled at passing vehicles

Tipton, at a news conference on Tuesday afternoon, said he had driven four riders from Red Rocks Amphitheatre to Boulder and was heading back to Morrison on southbound Colorado 93, about 10:15 p.m., when his van was struck.

“It sounded like a shotgun” when a stone hit the passenger side of his van, hitting the sliding door window.

Two vehicles northbound on 93 had passed when the incident occurred. At first, Tipton thought debris may have been blown up from the roadside — it was windy that day and night. He pulled over and another vehicle, that was behind him, also stopped.

The driver in the vehicle that stopped asked Tipton if he was all right. That driver’s vehicle had also been hit. No other people were on the roadside along the stretch. It was dark, Tipton didn’t make out what type of vehicles had passed him heading in the opposite direction. He had only spotted the two sets of headlights.

It wasn’t until the next day, when reports of the rock hurling incidents surfaced in the news, that Tipton realized the gravity of what had happened. His wife first told him about the incidents she had spotted in the news.

“My first initial reaction was anger,” Tipton said. “It put me in a bit of shock.”

Tipton has been driving fares for seven years. He puts in long hours and sometimes works overnight to help support his family. He and his wife have two daughters and a son, ages 20, 23 and 26.

“None of us were expecting anything, we were doing our everyday life” when victimized, he said.

Tipton came forward, in part, to help keep the incident in the public realm with the hope that additional tips will be left with investigators.

“They definitely need to be held accountable for what they’ve done,” he said of the perpetrators.

Tipton’s wife and his family are shaken up by the incident, and they worry when he goes off to work.

“It makes me more aware of what’s going on around me” he said.

As for the damage to his van, Tipton said it’s property that can be fixed or replaced.

“When people’s lives are in jeopardy, that’s when it crosses the line,” he said. “Alexa and her family got the worst of it.”

The sheriff’s office said Tuesday that investigators continue to press for leads and information in the case.

“We are working it diligently,” said Jenny Fulton, a spokeswoman. Anyone with information is asked to call crime stoppers at 720-231-7867 (STOP).

Sign up to get crime news sent straight to your inbox each day.

Source: Read Full Article