MIFFLINBURG, Pa. (AP) — An Ohio teacher who was badly injured when some teenagers deliberately dropped a rock from a central Pennsylvania highway overpass onto her family’s car was hospitalized in critical condition on Tuesday, police and her family said.
Sharon Budd, 52, was struck in the face, lost an eye and needed surgery on her brain to reduce the pressure from swelling, said her husband, Randy Budd. The rock’s impact made it feel as though the car “exploded,” he said.
“It was the most gruesome thing that you could ever imagine,” he told The Repository newspaper, of Canton, Ohio.
Brothers Brett Lahr, 18, and Dylan Lahr, 17, of New Columbia, face felony counts of aggravated assault and related charges for their involvement in dropping the large rock from a bridge over Interstate 80 late on July 10, authorities said.
Sharon Budd, a language arts teacher from Uniontown, Ohio, was sitting in the front passenger seat when the rock blasted through the windshield. Randy Budd and his 19-year-old daughter, Kaylee Budd, who was driving, were uninjured.
While responding to the scene, Pennsylvania state troopers noticed a car slowly drive by twice, according to an affidavit of probable cause. The license plate led police to visit the Lahrs’ home, where they learned the brothers and two juveniles had used the car that night, the affidavit said.
Under questioning by troopers, one of the juveniles said he and Dylan Lahr had thrown rocks onto the highway. The other juvenile gave a similar account, according to the affidavit.
Police told The Daily Item newspaper, of Sunbury, that prosecutors have not decided what charges, if any, to bring against the unnamed juveniles. A phone call to the Union County district attorney was not returned Tuesday afternoon.
An attorney for the Lahrs, who were released on bail, declined to comment.
The Budds had been driving to New York City, primarily for vacation. Randy Budd said his wife had just finished speaking with their eldest son, Lucas Budd, who was scheduled to leave for Afghanistan with the Ohio National Guard this week for a one-year deployment. After hanging up the phone, she asked him to send her a photo from his station in Fort Bliss, Texas, which he did.
“He wrote back, ‘I really miss you, Mom,'” Randy Budd said.