A shot from a pellet gun last Thanksgiving broke the auto glass on a car in the Reading, Pennsylvania area, and led to an infant inside the car to get hit by the glass. The shot was allegedly from a group of teenagers who have been detained by police.
The incident took place near the Charles Evans Cemetery, and police say it took place around 2100 hours. While more information has yet to be released regarding the teenagers accused of the crime, reports have at least confirmed that the baby involved in the accident in fine and did not appear to have suffered any injuries from the broken auto glass when examined at the hospital. This is most likely because the glass involved was tempered auto glass, which shatters into tiny and relatively safe pebbles with somewhat smooth, non-jagged edges. This is the precise reason this type of glass is used for car windows, as opposed to regular plate glass, which breaks into dangerous shards.
Car windows breaking due to pellet guns or BB guns are actually a fairly common occurrence—or report, at least—in auto glass repair shops. If you go to the local windshield repair or car window replacement centre in your area and ask how often they get reports of BB gun or pellet gun shooting from clients, you shall probably get a quote of “once a week”. Interestingly enough, even though a pellet or BB gun may indeed break auto glass in certain conditions, the usual culprit for majority of the so-called “pellet gun glass-breaking” situations is not a gun at all, but rather a wayward rock.
Most of the time, what people think to have been a pellet from a gun is actually a very small rock kicked up by the tires of a car. When small bits of gravel are thrown in front of a moving vehicle, the strength of the throw and the angle sometimes results in them ricocheting off the road at high speed and rushing back towards the vehicle whose tires threw them forward in the first place. Now it might seem odd that a small rock not even propelled by a machine such as a gun could strike glass with sufficient force to necessitate a windshield repair or window replacement, but physics have to come into play here: to put it simply, there are two high speeds to consider in the equation, which would be the speed of the rock as well as the vehicle as they collide. More or less the same goes for rocks kicked by side-by-side vehicles towards each other, as well as rocks coming down from some disturbance from a nearby incline.
That aside, whether it is a pellet gun or a rock that breaks your auto glass, there could be further damage done if you do not get it repaired as soon as possible. Leaving a broken-out window as it is, for instance, only tempts fate: if a rock the size of a pellet can break auto glass, think about what it can do to you. In the case of the infant at Reading, PA, it may even have been the auto glass that saved his life.