A family excursion to New York City has left a Lake Township woman critically injured after she was struck with a chunk of rock dropped onto a highway in Pennsylvania.
Sharon Budd, 52, a teacher with Perry Local Schools, is being treated at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa.
Her husband, Randy Budd, and their daughter, Kaylee, 19, who was driving late Thursday when the rock was dropped onto Interstate 80 near Milton, Pa., were not injured.
Four teens are charged with assault for dropping the 7- to 8-pound rock from an overpass above the highway.
In a phone interview Monday, Randy Budd said his wife’s condition remains critical, however, the family remains hopeful that she will regain consciousness. She was struck in the face by the rock while their vehicle was traveling about 65 mph.
Randy Budd, a vice president of Radius Hospitality, said the trip was partly business, but primarily leisure. After he drove the first 250-mile leg of the trip, his daughter took over the wheel just before the rock was dropped.
Sharon Budd was seated in the front passenger seat and was teary-eyed after receiving a selfie taken by her son, Lucas Budd, a soldier stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas.
Lucas Budd was set to be deployed to Afghanistan later this month. Mother and son had just finished their call.
“My son’s picture was the last thing she saw,” Randy Budd said. “She was crying, but it was a good cry.”
As they continued driving and chatting down the highway about midnight, the rock suddenly came bursting through the windshield.
“We were all awake and talking and wow, it felt like the car exploded,” Randy Budd said.
The severity of Sharon Budd’s injuries were not evident until Kaylee Budd stopped the car on the berm.
The rock struck Sharon Budd squarely in the face, Randy Budd said.
She was taken to the hospital, which has a Level 1 trauma unit, and the Budd family was told to prepare for the worst. Later, however, two specialists arrived and performed surgery, removing a portion of Sharon Budd’s facial bones to ease the brain swelling.
While she remains heavily sedated and facing a day-long surgery today, Budd said his wife of 31 years has moved her hands and toes at times.
Lucas Budd, 28, has received a delay of his deployment and is with his parents, family and friends at the hospital.
Sharon Budd is a language arts teacher in Perry. She is also a mother of four and a breast cancer survivor, her husband said.
“She’s a tough lady,” Randy Budd said. “She’s a fighter.”
Information from WNEP-TV, an ABC affiliate in Moosic, Pa., was used in this report. Phil Trexler can be reached at 330-996-3717 or email@example.com. He can be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PhilTrexler.