Tire flatteners

Tire-flattening devices, called caltrops, have been found over the past several months along Interstate 20 between US 69 in Smith County to FM 314 in Van Zandt County.

More devices that flatten automobile tires, called caltrops, were found Friday on Interstate 20 as law enforcement and state highway officials continue a search for who is responsible for scattering them.

Smith County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Sgt. Larry Christian said several caltrops were found in the eastbound lanes of I-20 near Loop 49.

The devices are made of welded rebar and sharpened on each side in a way that however it lays on the road, a side points up so it will catch a tire.

On July 21, these devices were found in the westbound lanes of I-20 near the US 69 on-ramp in Lindale, near the Hideaway and the Texas 110 exits, and in the eastbound lanes near the Hideaway on-ramp.

Christian got word to the public about the first set of caltrops on July 8 after it was found on I-20 between US 69 in Smith County to FM 314 in Van Zandt County.

According to the sheriff’s office, nearly 300 of the devices have been found in recent weeks.

Caltrops and other tire flattening devices are illegal weapons in the state. A person can be charged with a state jail felony if convicted of intentionally or knowingly possessing, manufacturing, transporting, repairing or selling a tire-deflation device.

Tyler-Smith County Crimestoppers is offering up to $1,000 for information leading to arrests of people responsible for scattering the devices on Interstate 20 in Smith County and surrounding counties.

Anyone with information about the devices is asked to contact Tyler-Smith County Crimestoppers at (903) 597-2833. Information that leads to an arrest or charges filed could bring a reward of up to $1,000.

The Texas Department of Transportation is continuing its debris collection to remove the hazardous materials from the roadway, the sheriff’s office said.

Those with relevant information about this case can also contact Detective Jerry Ramsey at the Smith County Sheriff’s Office by calling (903) 590-2689.