MARYLAND

Snowblower hits Germantown homes with stones, slush

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GERMANTOWN, Md. (WJLA) - It rained down hard – a storm of snow, slush, and stones.

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"I don't know where it come from -- all I hear is 'boom boom boom,'" describes homeowner John Nguyen.

Residents of this Germantown neighborhood say that on Friday morning at about 8 a.m., it started. According to Kristi Belcher, it suddenly felt like her house was under attack from a barrage of rocks hurtling toward her fast and forcefully from 270.

"You could see it coming over the wall, hitting our roof, hitting our yard, covering our yard," she says.

A massive snowblower used to clear 270 came through the neighborhood with such force that it sent what covered roads after Thursday’s storm over the 25-foot protective wall and straight at these yards and houses.

"The three windows are broken," says resident Arturo Hernandez.

Hernandez lost three windows in total, and stone pelted Kristi Belcher’s kitchen window, which fortunately withstood the onslaught. But it could have been much worse:

"My children sit here and right here, so if a rock had crashed through here they would have gotten injured," she says.

"I came up the steps right back there, and I had the perfect view of seeing everything just coming over the wall like an avalanche almost," adds Joseph Belcher. "I pulled up a rock that had yellow paint on it, so it was clearly part of the highway."

Meanwhile, Clarksburg High student Jason Escobar was two doors down enjoying a snow day.

"I was sitting here, eating my cereal, watching TV," he says. "I thought people were throwing rocks."

Every single window on the main level of his family's home was broken.

"It was a mess -- all that floor right there was just black and rocks and stuff like that." Escobar adds that his six-year-old cousin came within feet of being hit:

"My cousin was sitting right there. She got spooked so she ran that way to me."

Several homes took the brunt of the snowblower, as John Nguyen’s house still bears the marks of what looks like black snowballs. The yards here remain covered with rocks, bits of pavement, and lots of rock salt.

Residents have complained to the State Highway Administration, which advised them to file claims and promised that someone would look into it.

Fortunately, no one in the three homes struck was hurt, and the SHA said that it has spoken with the snowblower's drivers.

"At the moment I believe that they're going to do everything in their power to make sure it doesn't happen again, and I appreciate that," says Joseph Belcher.

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