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July 16, 2014

Rock thrown from overpass struck wife ‘like an explosion’

DANVILLE, Pa. —

   It felt like an explosion, Randy Budd said. An 8-pound rock the size of a soccer ball propelled from a highway overpass shattered the windshield of the family’s Nissan Rogue in the middle of the night, striking his wife, Sharon, in the face.

   “It was the most gruesome thing I’ve ever seen,” Budd said of his wife’s injuries. “It’s a sight I’ll never forget.”

   Budd replayed the incident on Interstate 80 in east-central Pennsylvania in an interview with the Sunbury Daily Item newspaper, a rock-throwing tragedy that has brought the victim and her family expressions of concern and support from throughout the region.

   He said miracles have been happening since his 52-year-old wife and mother of four from Uniontown, Ohio, was struck by the rock around midnight Thursday as the family drove eastward toward New Jersey. He said she remains in critical condition, but high-risk skull surgery succeeded in relieving the pressure on her brain.

   Budd said his wife, a beloved teacher in Ohio, survived a severe and aggressive form of breast cancer more than a decade ago, and now she's showing that same will to overcome incredible misfortune caused, police said, by four teenagers throwing rocks from an overpass at passing cars. 

   “She’s the toughest woman I know,” said Budd. “She is, and she is fighting. I cannot believe she is alive.”

   Budd, 53, detailed what happend as the car driven by his 19-year-old daughter, with his wife in the front passenger seat, approached the fateful overpass in Union County near Williamsport. He was sitting in the back seat. 

   The Budds were en route to New Jersey, where Randy Budd, who works in hospitality, had business. Mrs. Budd and daughter Kaylee planned to visit New York City, tickets in hand for "Mamma Mia" on Broadway.

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