'The glass exploded': Mother and daughter say van window shot out on I-5

Melanie Espinoza says the rear passenger window of her mother's van appeared to have been shot out on I-5 in Tualatin Tuesday evening. (Photo courtesy Jan Shull.)

Melanie Espinoza of Oregon City told KATU about a terrifying incident that happened as her mother drove her on I-5 in Tualatin.

“We heard what sounded like a gunshot and not even a second later the whole back window of the van just shattered," she said.

Oregon State Police (OSP) said they responded to the report, but an agency spokesman said cases like it are tough to investigate.

Around 5 p.m. Tuesday Espinoza said her mother, Jan Shull, was driving her home from a veterinary clinic in Tualatin.

Espinoza, a mom herself, said her dog, Squirrel, was very sick.

"We had to leave my dog," she explained, "so I’m already stressed because my dog’s at the vet.”

While on I-5 near the Nyberg exit, Espinoza said she noticed something odd outside her window.

"I see this black, sporty, four-door car and he’s cuttin’ cars off and people are honkin’ at him," she said. "Kind of being a jerk, driving down the road, driving very aggressively.”

Espinoza said she was about to warn her mother but a terrifying noise interrupted her.

"It sounded like just a ‘bang!’ and then there was like a split-second delay and then just like the glass exploded," she said regarding the rear, passenger-side window. "It took a second to realize even what happened. I started looking around. My mom was trying to get off the road. It just sounded like the whole inside of the vehicle exploded.”

As they pulled over Espinoza said she saw the black car take off with at least two people inside.

"There was somebody in the back seat rolling up the window and then somebody obviously driving," she said.

They immediately called police and as they waited Espinoza worried about her mom who has a heart condition.

"She couldn’t stop shaking. Her heart was pounding," Espinoza said.

Her mother, Shull, was OK, but Espinoza was also flooded with fears about what would've happened if her 10-year-old daughter had come with them.

"We left her behind. If we had taken her she would’ve been sitting in this seat right there," Espinoza said, pointing to the rear passenger-side window.

Capt. Tim Fox, an OSP spokesman, told KATU they receive several calls like this a year and without any other information there isn't much to investigate. He said they have no suspect, which Espinoza wasn't happy to hear.

"It's like being victimized all over again," she said. "You want that justice.”

A KATU reporter investigated the vehicle and couldn't find an exit hole for a possible bullet. A staff member at a local car glass repair shop told the reporter it's possible a low-velocity pellet from a pellet gun could've shattered the glass and bounced off it.

Fox added, "I am not speaking about Ms. Shull's case specifically, but there are times that road debris (rocks , etc.) hitting a window sounds like a shot."

Espinoza's dog, Squirrel, is expected to go home on Thursday.

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