“I thought it was the zombie apocalypse or something, and then it began to look like an Easter egg hunt,” Joel Aldridge said later.
“It was all-out chaos.”
Aldridge was on a mundane errand Friday afternoon when he came upon the extraordinary scene as traffic slowed to a crawl on Interstate 20.
“At first, I thought there had been a wreck or something, and then I noticed this one guy with two handfuls of cash, like he was carrying a basketball or something,” Aldridge said.
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The cash had fallen out of a Brinks armored truck.
The truck, bound for Abilene, was approaching mile marker 400 shortly before 3 p.m. when a door on the passenger side flew open, police said.
A “substantial” amount of money in a clear plastic bag fell onto the freeway, said Cmdr. Chris Crawford, a Weatherford police spokesman.
Trucks, cars, UPS delivery trucks, tow trucks stopped on both sides of the interstate and the drivers left their vehicles, Aldridge said.
“They left their doors open,” Aldridge said. “They just stopped in the middle of the road.”
Aldridge got out his cellphone and posted the resulting video to his Facebook page.
“As I was leaving the scene, I heard this siren, and this old guy came running past yelling, ‘The police are coming, the police are coming!’ I was never really sure who he was yelling at,” Aldridge said.
He didn’t see the armored car, Aldridge said.
He finally made it through the traffic jam and went to a Home Depot, and when he came out about 30 minutes later, all the traffic and all the people were gone, Aldridge said.
It was not clear on Friday afternoon how the money burst from its plastic wrapping. Officers later recovered only a small amount, most of it between mile markers 403 and 410, Crawford said.
“The money belongs to Brinks, and we are hoping that people’s integrity outweighs their greed,” Crawford said. “As of right now, most of the money has not been returned. Officers have talked to a couple of people, and they have returned the money.
“Our detectives will investigate pursuing criminal charges against people who deliberately keep money and do not try to return it.”
Weatherford police said Saturday morning the some people have turned in some money -- the amount wasn’t known yet -- since Friday night.
Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752
Do the right thing
To return money taken Friday, call Weatherford police on the nonemergency line, 817-598-4310.
Police caution drivers not to stop along the interstate to attempt to find more cash because that causes a dangerous distraction.