The family of a man identified as Colin Davis McCarthy is complaining that he threw out $200,000 to bystanders from his vehicle. McCarthy, 38, was reported by police to throw out wads of cash – some as much as $100 bills – along Oregon’s I-5 freeway to bystanders on Tuesday evening.
Many bystanders took to the road to grab the money as McCarthy threw them out of his moving car. Other vehicles quickly pulled aside to the curb and drivers alighted to grab free cash. It was around 7 pm on the freeway near Eugene in Oregon, and several people called the police to alert them to the fact that a man was throwing out wads of cash from his vehicle.
Police officers ultimately caught up with McCarthy and cautioned him against throwing out money from a moving car. He explained that he felt like blessing people and that was why he did it. Police warned him the generosity was dangerous because people were packing their cars along the interstate to be able to scramble for the cash.
“The northbound lane was bumper-to-bumper traffic stretching for miles due to people pulling off and re-entering the freeway from the shoulder and searching the ground,” Tori Kathleen Gramz, one of the complainants who called the police said. “Some people were running from shoulder to shoulder of the interstate waiting for cars to pass.”
Police said the “Father Christmas” took warning and stopped giving out the free cash.
Oregon State Police Lt. Jim Andrews said by 8 pm when officers scoured the road to see if there were any free cash left unpicked, there was nothing. He said people did a “pretty good job of cleaning it all up.”
McCarthy’s family said it was normal behavior for him to do what he did, but that he left them impoverished with his latest stunt because he withdrew the money in the family’s shared accounts. Andrews said there was no way to confirm if McCarthy actually sprayed $200,000 but that a significant amount of the money people picked up was in $100 bills.
McCarthy’s family urged members of the public who picked some of the largesse to kindly return the money to the police for onward transmission to the family. Andrew said the likelihood of that happening is very slim. He advised people to exercise caution if they operate a joint account with spouses or family members since all parties have unhindered access to the fund.
“Because it’s shared, they both have equal interests in the money,” Andrews stated. “To prevent something like that happening if you were estranged, you would definitely want to create a secondary bank account and then take out a portion of the money that you believe is rightfully yours.”